Les Misérables (2012)
Les Misérables is based on the novel by Victor Hugo and is based in 19th-century France and the story of prisoner 24601, formerly known as Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). He served his time for stealing bread to feed his sister’s son who was starving. After 19 years he is finally being paroled but he is forever marked as a thief so no one will give him work or take him in except a kind priest who shows Valjean the error of his ways and that god will offer his hand in aid if Valjean will do good with what he is given. So he disappears, breaking parole but building a life of good and kindness as the mayor of small french town outside Paris. However there is one man, Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) who will not rest till he finds prisoner 24601. He lives by the law and the law alone. Javert and Valjean’s paths cross more than once forcing Valjean to flee and create a new life, eventually taking with him Cossette (Amanda Seyfried) the daughter of poor girl who was once a worker in one of Valjean’s factories. Through her Valjean finds love and redemption. This whole story is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. Also starring Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone.
A tale of redemption, love and faith, Les Misérables is a sweeping dramatic epic that will bring even a grown man to tears – or well maybe a single tear. Everything about the movie is moving and will sweep you off your feet. The romantic views of France and the dirty streets filled with poor beggars, coupled with the costumes make you truly believe you are in 19th-century France in a time of transition and a bit of darkness. Now the performances of Jackman and Hathaway are phenomenal. Jackman is in his element, there is no doubt of that. He throws everything he has into this role and you can feel it and revel in it. Hathaway is on the screen for less than 30 minutes but that is a hell of a 30 minutes. I have always enjoyed her acting but this is a step above it’s a powerful performance that should win her an Oscar in my opinion. However Les Misérables isn’t perfect. While I appreciate the music and the lyrics of Les Misérables I personally prefer a musical with songs and spoken word. Les Misérables is over 2 and a half hours of all song and even though the performances are commendable it gets tedious after a while and drags it down at points when if the dialogue was spoken it could have moved a bit faster. Overall Les Misérables is beautiful and powerful, fans of it will adore it and the average movie goer can appreciate it.
8/10 Stars – I wept like a little baby for 60% of this film and was overwhelmed by the dramatic story and landscape!
So I finally went to the theatre to see this movie and kinda wish I didn’t. This again (from my recent posts) is one of those films NOT FOR MEN! Don’t get me wrong, I like a good quality musical most of the time, but most of “Les Mis” isn’t “music!” It’s people talking and making their voices sound like they are singing. To me, you “sing” a “song,” not spoken words, and 98% of this movie is sung – even the dialogue! If that wasn’t annoying enough, the story is muddled with way too many characters and plot tangents. It very well might be due to the fact that the base story is sung and difficult to grasp, but when the story starts to venture out and add in tons of new characters that really have nothing to do with Jean Valjean or Javert, I just stopped caring. When Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway were on the screen, I paid attention and cared, but they were too few and far between come the 2nd half. Parts I did like included the song by Sacha Baron Cohen/Helena Bonham Carter as it was pretty funny but didn’t I see them in those role (and costumes) in Sweeney Todd??? It’s hard to look at Les Mis as a whole and say it was a good movie when it did have quality parts, but one thing I will say, if Anne Hathaway doesn’t win best supporting actress, I’ll pee my pants!
6/10 Stars – Muddled and boring because of the music and story, but Anne and Hugh saved me from totally writing it off.
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