Movie Review: Les Miserables is a dream…January 7th, 2013 at 5:54 pm by Stephanie Cooke under Uncategorized
Click HERE to watch the official Les Miserables trailer.
Les Miserables based on the musical based on the book by Victor Hugo has been a long time coming. Theatergoers who have loved Les Mes for years have been looking forward to this all-star cast performing some of their favorite Broadway hits.
But! Don’t look for too many Broadway-types here… Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) took a decidedly different approach to making this film. He valued the actor more than the singer, even though it’s a musical. He cast the likes of Russell Crowe (not known for singing), Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and the one that could be most deserved thanks to his Tony- winning ways, Hugh Jackman as the legendary Jean Valjean.
Let’s just go back to the plot…for those who don’t know what it’s about. Les Miserables begins with Jean Valjean serving the end of a 19-year prison sentence for a crime he didn’t really commit.
Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) vows to uphold the law at all costs and should Jean Valjean stray from the path — he promises — he will find him. Valjean leaves the old life and name behind, refuses to obey parole, begins a new life with a new name, and becomes quite well-to-do.
In fact, he owns a factory. Javert is soon on his tail and ValJean feels he owes a debt to a dying Fantine. He feels he must find her daughter Cosette and get lost from the world again. But he is torn between the life he knows he deserves and the life he feels he deserves.
The entire film is a ramp up to the French Revolution and the love story that develops between a coming-of-age Cosette and the young revolutionary Marise, even though it pails in comparison to the love story Jean Valjean has with God.
Tom Hooper does “Les Miz” justice. Event though a few things stuck out to me: there are some over-the-top sets — seriously, on a grand scale – and some melodrama moments, along with a speeding camera shot used repeatedly that still baffles me.
I was moved to tears multiple times. Anne Hathaway is just amazing — and deserves the awards-season accolades already coming in. Hugh Jackman is absolutely amazing as Jean ValJean even though a few times he lost me. In the beginning of the film, he looks emaciated as Prisoner 24601, and holds tight to the man that the character was as he develops him into the man he knows he should be.
Kudos to the performers especially young Daniel Huttlestone — a child actor in his first film is simply brilliant. And a shout out to Sasha Baron Cohen! He and Helena Bonham Carter are the comic relief and steal every seen they are in. Russel Crowe was also in the movie (that’s about all I have to say –a missed casting at the very least). And a final way to go to Eddie Redmayne as Marius — who was the star of last year’s My Life with Marilyn. He was wonderful here!
The music of Les Miserables remains amazing and the lengths to which Hooper took the actors to accomplish a truly intimate and moving performance was well worth the effort. Excepting, again, Russell Crowe.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE COOKIES
Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements.
Click Here to watch my review of Les Miserables on The Hampton Roads Show. It’s about 25 minutes into the show.