This film was released yesterday and I’ve got great things to say about it.
Les Misérables is based on the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo. Directed by Tom Hooper and scripted by William Nicholson, the musical film stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, among others. The film starts off with men as slaves pulling a huge ship. Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean is among them, leading in song to the film’s rendition of “Work Song,” with Russell Crowe’s Javert joining in.
Hugh Jackman manages to pull off his character extremely well; now I see why he got a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical. You go Glen Coco!! Now where’s that Oscar nom? Anne Hathaway is in this musical too! And her major, yet short (compared to the others) role was memorable and unfortunate throughout the first thirty or so minutes of the film. I especially fell in love with her rendition of “I Have a Dream” after her character (Fantine) slips down a slippery slope and into the depths of a woman’s desperation to earn money in anyway possible for her child.
The film consists of three time sequences, many long solo performances from, if I recall, every cast member (well, at least the ones heavily involved in the storyline), and a dark atmosphere. So, make sure to ready your eyes when a bright day finally emerges. Well, you won’t see it coming anyway. I was surprised as to how many performances were in this film, having thought that they wouldn’t implement every single one from the original.
Back to the story, Jean Valjean escapes parole over stealing some bread to feed his sister’s child. Years later, he is mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer, soon becoming a suspect of Javert’s long search for the crime which he fled from. To prevent further spoilers, I’ll stop here. The film revolves around Fantine’s daughter Cosette played by Isabelle Allen. And can I say that she is so adorable and has such a sweet voice? We even get to see her grow up into Amanda Seyfried! The film starts picking up the pace on one of my favorite scenes with my favorite characters Madame Thénardier and husband Thénardier, played by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen respectively. Boy are they hilarious! After such gloomy and tear-jerking scenes, it was nice to have these two characters lighten up the mood with laughter. Literally, the whole theater was laughing. OH! And did I mention that the movie theater was packed?! I was surprised after expecting a half full (empty?) showing, but to my surprise I was barely able to find seats near the middle or anywhere for that fact. Four for you Glen Coco!
The film changes into a romance tone and then a tragedy. A group of revolutionaries, a French army and barricades equal, in fact, into a tragedy. Without going into depth with the revolutionaries (rebels) and plenty of deaths, I will say that those scenes capture so much emotion and shock the audience. I could hear everyone in the theater react to such scenes. Also, Russell Crowe was amazing in this film. His villainous portrayal of Jackman’s “arch-nemesis” makes you fear every one of his scenes’ outcome.
A beautiful musical tragedy, Les Misérables is a must-watch film of 2012. Seriously, go watch it. Even if you’re barely starting out in the musical plays/films scene, this might as well be your first.