I spotted Caroline Sheen, Hannah Waddingham, Alexia Khadime, Frances Ruffele (after much deliberation as to which of the prostitutes she was!), Bertie Carvel, the obvious barricade boys like Killian Donnelly and Fra Fee, Kerry Ellis and Gina Beck.
I have to admit I was fairly sceptical after watching some of the pre-released footage (though excited for some of the performances!), and it certainly wasn't flawless, but when it was good it was astoundingly good, and overall I loved it. Haven't been to see many films where an ordinary audience applauded at the end and stayed right to the end of the credits listening to the music (well done Vue for not putting the lights on).
My favourite performances were Eddie, Sam and Anne. If Anne doesn't win the Oscar it will be a huge injustice, she was astonishing. Eddie was the biggest surprise, he sang beautifully and I loved almost all of his acting choices. Sam was quite simply perfection, her performance sets the standard for Eponines for me from now on. Her theatre training really showed though, she and the ensemble sounded so much crisper and had much more depth of tone than the others.
Hugh Jackman was for the most part brilliant, and Valjean's death scene was sublime, but Bring Him Home ruined it for me - sadly I thought it was awful, and was sitting there shocked that he was doing it so badly! It's meant to be a prayer, so don't start singing it at full volume! Lessons from the Eddie, Sam and Anne school of subtle singing required there in my opinion...
Amanda Seyfried was a much better Cosette than I was expecting, barring a couple of the high notes. She made the best of what she had to work with and her vibrato was nowhere near as annoying as it had been in the clips. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were fine - I enjoyed Master of the House and Beggars at the Feast, but their actual singing left a bit to be desired, and I thought they could have been better in One Day More especially. I was slightly disappointed by Aaron Tveit, he wasn't masterful enough and was outshone by Killian and the rest. Daniel Huttlestone was a brilliant Gavroche, and Isabelle Allen a very good young Cosette. Michael Crawford was wonderful.
I really have 3 main issues: Russell Crowe, the close ups and some of the cuts.
Crowe really wasn't good, he was the gaping weak link in the main cast. Stars is one of my favourite songs in the show and I hated it in the movie
Haven't got anything good to say about the Solliloquy either, I thought the whole impact was lost by making the staging of Stars so similar (though I can appreciate some may see it as foreshadowing). I just don't like his voice, it's not strong enough, and thought he made some very strange choices in terms of pacing, volume and tone. Such a shame there wasn't a stronger Javert, he needed to have much more impact.
The close-ups - when they worked (Anne and Sam) they were great, but too much repetition ruined it. The lyrics of Empty Chairs were crying out for a sweeping shot of the room, but the camera was stuck on Eddie's face. Same with Red and Black. He sung it brilliantly, but it would have had even more impact with proper staging. Have to admit I thought One Day More worked though. But the chopping of different closeups didn't work so well in the finale.
The cuts. Some were good, such as replacing Eponine with the Bishop in the finale, but some really annoyed me. The ones that stood out were the changing of the lyrics in the finale, taking out 'your mother gave her life for you...' - I understand why it was done, but would have preferred the original - and removing the bit where they talk about Eponine being the first to fall and them fighting in her name after that, not wanting her to have died in vain. Actually, Eponine's part was badly cut in general, and although taking out the first part of One My Own made sense, I would have loved to hear Sam sing it - it could still have worked. The start was badly cut, Drink With Me should have been full length and Do You Hear the People Sing should have been sung partly in solos like it is onstage. The new song was harmless but forgettable, and didn't seem to fit with the rest of the score - sounded more like a song from Evita or something like that. It wasn't bad though.
Overall, after that long ramble, I still think it's an astonishing piece of film, and for the most part it does the musical justice. I think the singing live paid off, it was just one casting error that brought it down.