Les Miserables

December 25, 2012 2 Comments

Rating: 8/10

Les Miserables is not a sublte novel and its wildly successful musical version plays the story full throttle.  Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)  embraces the fervor of the musical in his 157 minute version which stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, the convict (is there really anybody who doesn’t know the story?) relentlessly pursued by Inspector Javert(Russel Crowe) across several decades and into the depths of a French Revolution.  Jackman is wonderful as Valjean.  Anne Hawathay, who plays the doomed Fantine is equally compelling.  And they can sing!  Hooper’s decision to have the singing done “live” rather than dubbed in a studio after the fact works well in a production that is basically sung throughout.  The only disappointment in the cast is  Russell Crowe, whose vocal ability is limited and sing songy in a way that detracts from the menacing presence required in Javert.  Jackman and Hathaway’s strong presence makes Crowe seem even more miscast.  Even “softer” characters like Cosette and Marius are played well.  Colm Wilkinson, considered the quintessential Broadway Jean Valjean makes a cameo appearance as the benevolent bishop who saves Valjean and sets the story in motion.

Some may take exception to Hooper’s frequent use of wide angle close ups and alot of CGI effects. There is one additional song which adds little to the score and sounds more Andrew Lloyd Weber.   This is not a perfect movie, but as someone who has seen the musical a dozen times, I can assure you that it “gets” it.  Can you hear the people sing?   See you on the barricade!!!!   Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week
2 Comments to “Les Miserables”
  1. Bruce Russell says:

    This film is great! Love, unrequited love, courage, self-sacrifice, perseverance, heroism, moral commitment and misplaced moral commitment and, in the end, the triumph of goodness in the face of great tragedy. Yes, Russell Crowe is the weak link, but did you hear how Cosette can sing?! Liberty, equality, fraternity (with several love stories in the foreground!)

    11 out of 10!

  2. I agree and comments about Javert are really only quibbles. The movie gets the heart of the musical (and Hugo’s story) just right. Often the roles of Marius and especially Cosette come across weakly, but not this time. And Eponine is a show stopper! Long live Les Miz! Jolyn

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