Synopsis: Read on IMDB
Should you watch this movie? I think those who have a strong appreciation for incredible performances and stunning visuals will very much enjoy this classic tale. Most importantly, this is a movie for those who enjoy musicals. A lot. If you are not a fan of singing movies, them you may find this movie, well, boring and slightly annoying. Athough I still think you should go watch to at least for awareness of a classic literatura (and Brodway) tale. Unless you prefer reading the original Victor Higo story. Then go with that.
This is a timeless story and most of us at least browsed through this story while in high school or college. Jean Valjean is sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread and spends 19 years as a slave (the penalty for stealing, plus trying to escape several times). After his sentence is completed he is condemned to a life on parole, getting shunned virtually everywhere for being an ex-convict. He flees his parole and makes a new life for himself. All the while inspector Javert keeps chasing this man out of a sense of duty and commitment for the law and these two play cat and mouse for years. Meanwhile Valjean comes across Fantine a factory worker fallen from grace into a life of prostitution and vows to help her take care of her daugther Cosette (who is at the charge of the evil Thénadiers)
Spoiler alert, most of the characters die at the end. This is no real spoiler, however; as this is a spoiler in the same way Osama Bin Laden dying at the end of Zero Dark Thirty is a spoiler. There is also loads of singing. Well it is a musical, duh! It is a beautifully executed musical with amazing cinematography, unparallel performances and all the magical extravagance of a Hollywood / Broadway production. The movie is an adptation of the stage musical of the same name and like a true stage production the actors sang everything on scene. I by that I mean the actors actually belted out the tunes when the director said “action” as opposed to lipsyncing a pre-recorded version.
So it’s no wonder this movie cast some outstanding actors with amazing voices (the latter not so applicable for Mr. Russel Crowe, who was perfectly adequate as Javert, but his singing was just ok in my humble opinion). Hugh Jackman plays a dramatic portrayal of Jean Valjean. The first 10 minutes of the movie were so powerful as the emaciated, wasted slave prisoner, just absolutely moving. But when we talk about moving performances, kudos go to Anne Hathaway in her portrayal as Fantine. Just with the first 2 seconds of her singing “I dreamed a dream…” she ensured herself every single award this season, with a very strong probability that she’ll be grabbing the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette and Eddie Redmayne plays her love interest Marius. Amanda displays her sweet voice (which we already knew she had when she was in Mamma Mia), but she wasn’t in the movie a lot. Probably 10 minutes less than Anne Hathaway (and that’s saying a lot because Anne Hathaway couldn’t have been in the moviemore than 20 min.) Eddie Redmayne on the other hand was really good, not only his singing was great, his sizzling hot presence was enough to make anyone swoon! Another surprise was newcomer Samantha Barks; this was her film debut in the role of the older Éponine (a role she played in the London production of Les Misérables), the daughter of Cosette’s keepers, the Thenadiers. She was stunning, her voice is absolutely magical and there is a certain star quality to her that she really steals the screen from other characters.
Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter play the unscrupulous Thénadiers, and as usual, these two play a brilliant pair of con artists! It’s getting harder and harder to imagine these two playing characters that are not completely over the top and in some way deranged. All performances were successful not only due to the brilliance of the cast, but also by the direction of Tom Hopper as the glue who brought all these stars into a cohesive and ultimately spectacular display! Now, you may find yourself yawning sometimes, and this will especially be harder not to do if you are not a fan of musicals. So really, only watch if you are a sucker for musicals. I’m serious.
Paola’s mood after watching this movie: