Movie Review – Les Miserables (2012)
It’s a musical, and unlike broadway where you’re normally watching a speck on a distant stage (unless your mega rich and can afford prime seats) this is the big screen. You get to pick up every nuance in facial expression.. especially the tears.. and believe me, there are many. Oh a true tear jerker, I’ve always loved the book but hated the sadness enveloping the story, but then again, that’s why they call it the miserables. Overall you will love it but you will be a wreck, and need a hug. I sure did.
Plot: Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Miserables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), their lives change forever. In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale.
What we thought: Of all the 80’s broadway musicals that were conceived, this one was the one I loved. It is by far less silly than Cats, more meaningful than the Phantom of the Opera. This story is real and it is fashioned around the time of the French rebellion. In Tom Hooper’s film version, Anne Hathaway, as the ruined Fantine, demolishes this piece, live-singing a big solo number, choked with pain and fierce regret. Eventhough she is not my favourite actress, she totally stole the show. That favourite song of mine in the entire musical took wings with her performance. Just for this small piece of movie magic, instantly iconic, the big-screen Les Miserables is a triumph!
And then there were the rest. As you would have probably guessed, Russell Crowe’s pained vocal stylings as the nasty Inspector Javert can be forgiven after hearing Hugh Jackman’s singing in the central role of Jean Valjean. You can tell that Jackman has had professional training but his voice just lacks the range of the other professional singers. Same goes for Crowe.
Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier and Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thénardier are two of my favorite rascal characters in this show, lending humor and alleviating the grim and darker side of Les Miz just a little. There is also something not so attractive when Cosette hits the high notes – it’s just so Seyfried put over Abba’s “Honey Honey” in Mamma Mia! Marius (Eddie Redmayne) her love interest, now he has a great voice.
There were however, some weak parts in the movie and because there was so little dialog (or none rather) and all singing, some emotions were not effectively conveyed in the show. We couldn’t really see how Javert, cold as stone, changed into a man full of regret, in just the span of one scene. Otherwise, it was thoroughly tear-jerkingly beautiful.
Well, we all know the story of this great classic and how it ends. Pass the kleenex and marvel at how 3 hours flew by without you knowing it. A great musical that none should miss!
Watch the Trailer: