The camera soars on high, the orchestra bellows…

Word count: 281 words

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

A great way to improve your writing skills is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. Today’s comes from an Anthony Lane New Yorker review of the movie Les Miserables.

I’ve never read any Victor Hugo. I’ve not seen the stage play Les Miserables. Nor have I seen the movie — although my teenage daughter has seen it twice. But I’m familiar with the story and I can even hum a few of the songs. Best of all, I enjoy reading movie reviews almost as much as seeing films. And New Yorker writer Anthony Lane never disappoints.

Would it shock you to learn he abhorred the movie? My neither. But he got off so many good lines that I feel forced to quote a few of them here. For example:

The camera soars on high, the orchestra bellows, and then, whenever somebody feels a song coming on, we are hustled in close, forsaking our bird’s-eye view for that of a consultant rhinologist.

I love the evocative verbs he choses — soars, bellows, hustled — and the punchline he provides — a rhinologist, a nose doctor — is absolutely perfect.

Despite his scathing review, I’ll likely go see the movie anyway. I love musicals and I was intrigued to learn that the songs in this movie were taped directly rather than dubbed later. That will be interesting to see. Regardless, the last line of Lane’s review made me laugh out loud:

Fans of the original production, no doubt, will eat the movie up, and good luck to them. I screamed a scream as time went by.

Very creative, Anthony Lane!

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