The musical version of Victor Hugo’s epic tale of love and sacrifice, first produced for the stage in 1985, now receives the big-screen treatment.
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit,Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone
Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/70244167
I shall start this review by stating that I have watched several versions of “Les Misérables” over the years including DVDs of the stage version, but I have never actually seen the stage version in person. Some of these have been fantastic whereas others have failed to capture the essence of this brilliant cat and mouse story; this said I was unsure as to whether or not this version would live up to its big name expectations. However I needn’t have worried: this version is an absolutely amazing portrayal of Victor Hugo’s story.
Set in France between 1815 and 1832, “Les Misérables” is the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who, inspired by a kindly bishop, decides to turn his life around. He eventually becomes mayor of a town in France as well as the owner of a factory in the same town. He is always alert to the risk of being captured again by police inspector Javert, who is ruthless in hunting down law-breakers, believing that they cannot change for the better. One of Valjean’s factory workers, Fantine, blames him for her being cast into a life of prostitution and when she dies he feels responsible and agrees to take care of her illegitimate daughter, Cosette — though he must first escape Javert. Later, when Cosette is grown, they are swept up in the political turmoil in Paris, which culminates in the Paris Uprising of 1832.
The acting in this film is second to non and even more amazing is the fact that all the songs were recorded on the set, with a live pianist on set too, and yes the voices you hear singing are those of the actors. Although Russell Crow’s singing leaves a lot to be desired, Hugh Jackman’s is surprisingly good. Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter add a fantastic and much needed comedy element to this tear-jerker of a story. Also look out for the exceptionally cute 12 year old Daniel Huttlestone who plays the revolutionary street child Gavroche but be warned: there will be tears.
Whether or not you’re a fan of musicals, “Les Misérables” tells a compelling and heartfelt story of love, loss and social injustice. It’s a long film at 2hr 40min but the pacing is good throughout and, Crow-singing aside, it doesn’t fail to entertain.