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Les Misérables (2012)

Updated on January 21, 2013
1988 movie poster
1988 movie poster

Les Miserables 25th Anniversary REHEARSAL Behind The Scenes

Les Misérables

Director: Tom Hooper

Writers: Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Victor Hugo, Herbert Kretzmer, Jean-Marc Natel, James Fenton, William Nicholson

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, Cavin Cornwall, Josef Altin, Dave Hawley, Adam Jones, John Barr

Synopsis: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements

Susan Boyle Sings "I Dreamed A Dream" on Britain's Got Talent

Les Miserables at the Tony Awards

A Musical Masterpiece

When I first started getting into films at an early age, I was never really into musicals that much to be honest. Sure, there were the occasional Disney animated films, when I was a child, but I wouldn't have called myself a huge fan of musicals back then. However, since writing reviews on hubpages, I've been trying to expand my tastes to like all genres equally these days.

Granted, there's still a few that I cherish fondly because they relate back to what I grew up with watching, but that still hasn't stopped me from broadening my tastes in films. After all, I consider it somewhat of an obligation to my readers to try to like all genres equally.

As for what I thought about "Les Miserable", I'll get into that now. Take in mind, if you're not into musicals at all, then I wouldn't advise you seeing this film. Not because it's not any good, as it's definitely one of the best musicals out there. However, every line of dialogue in this film is said through song, so there's no spoken dialogue in this movie at all. Meaning everyone in this damn film sings throughout the movie that runs almost up to three hours long. Granted, I know that might sound cheesy to some people, but if you can get into it, then you'll find that it's one of the best dramatic musicals out there.

The film is based off a novel that was published in 1862, which was based on the student uprising in France back in 1832. A man named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) gets released from his twenty year sentence in prison, for stealing a loaf of bread. He tries to become an honest man, but nobody will aid him, as his parole paper's have branded him a criminal for the rest of his days. It isn't until one day when a priest shows him an inkling of kindness that his life changes for the better. He skips his parole, and starts a new life as a mayor of a small town; under a new identity. At first, it seems like Jean has made a perfect life for himself, but finds that he's constantly being pursued by the hard nosed policeman, Javert (Russell Crowe).

In fact, he nearly gets himself caught again, when he tries to help Fantine (Anne Hathaway), after hearing her story of woe. Fantine is a poor girl, who's forced to not only give up her dreams to support her child, but she's forced to sell everything from her hair, teeth and even her body if it means helping out her daughter, Cosette.

Sadly, through a series of events, Fantine passes away, and Jean takes it upon himself to rescue Cosette from the Inn that's ran by the Thénardiers; who treat Cosette like a slave, while spoiling their daughter, Éponine. Years later, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) grows up into a fine young girl, who somehow finds herself smitten by a handsome young student rebel named Marius (Eddie Redmayne). From here, we see a tale unlike any we've ever seen, as it's an epic tale that'll grab the heart of it's audience and never let go.

Although the film does tend to drag at times, it's not a bad musical at all. If anything, it's arguably one of the best musicals ever conceived, as the level of detail is simply amazing in this film. Everything from the costume designs, the sets and makeup seemed very authentic throughout the film. Add in the fact that the music flows perfectly along each scene, it's almost like watching poetry in motion.

For those who often condemn movies as not being a respectable art form these days, then I'd have to challenge that person to see this film, as "Les Miserables" is a piece of art, in every sense of the word. It's amazing how Tom Hooper was able to present such an epic story told entirely through song, as it's one of those rare films you have to see to believe it.

As for the performances in this film, what more can I really say? Hugh Jackman shows his true range, as an actor; going from a petty thief that struggles to get by, but ends up becoming an honorable man by the end of the film. For most actors to pull off such a role, it would be difficult, but Hugh makes it look easy. As for Anne Hathaway, I have to admit her performance was nothing short of spectacular. If she doesn't win the Oscar for this performance, then I'll be very surprised. Normally, I don't allow most films to touch me on a personal level, but when she sang "I dreamed a dream", even I felt a bit choked up inside watching it. It's a very moving scene that'll touch the heart of anyone who watches it.

In the end, I would definitely recommend anyone that loves musicals to see this movie, at a rating of three and a half out of four. Sure, the film does tend to drag at times, but it's still arguably one of the best musicals ever conceived.


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Yeah same here.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

      I am happy for both Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman to have gotten the recongition that they did for their movies. I've always thought both were talented actors.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Nah, no need for apologies, as im glad you shared some of your thoughts with us about the movie. Yeah, I kind of got the impression that they were trying to give off a stage presence too during the movie.

      Sadly, since the entire film is mostly done through song, there's hardly any time for the film to slow down for the viewers to take it all in. at least with a play, there's always intermissions, but since it's a movie, we both know that's not the case here, so it felt like the movie was a bit slow at times, but overall i have to say it was a great film. definitely one of the best musicals i've seen.

      i think the writer of entertainment weekly said it best that if Daniel Day-Lewis had not made lincoln last year, then odds are then Hugh Jackman or Bradley Cooper would've taken the best actor award this year.

      Hell, all the actors that were nominated could've easily won the oscar if it weren't for Lewis' captivating performance in "Lincoln." Oh well. what can you do? it'll be interesting to see where jackman takes his career next after this.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

      I thought the film was beautiful. The set design gave off the "Stage like feel" and the general themes of humanity (compassion, love, virtue) and add in the social injustice of a man going to jail for 18 years...for stealing bread which was not something uncommon in the time that the play takes place in. Frequently the less fortunate would suffer the most.

      I saw the film with a friend of mine who had seen the play multiple times, and it was the first time for me seeing it at all. She told me that Samantha Barks was incredible as Eponine, but as a whole that character was royally screwed up. They made her seem a little crazy whereas she was an actual positive reinforcement in sending Marius (Romeo) and Cosette (Juliet) together....sorry had to make that comparison for those two characters as I frequently thought their scens were overly "hammy".

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Wow, maybe you should've written this review instead of me, as that was a lot of very insightful thoughts on the movie. I don't think anyone could've put it better. Anyways, I'm glad to hear you liked the film as well, as I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see both Hugh and Anne take home the Oscar this year. Also, thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts with us. :)

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 4 years ago from Australia

      I'm not normally into musicals but the performances in this version made 2 hrs 38 min go very fast. Admittedly, as an Aussie, I went because Hugh is a possible contender for an Oscar - I had to see of course! If you are a deep thinker the message within the story line may suit you. Think of conscience. What is seen to be right and what is right. Virtue and righteousness v the law; ............ you will be taken on an inner journey of the struggles we all face in life. Russel Crowe's part portrayed this very well.

      There were many scenes that evoked emotion. I was impressed by Samantha Barks who I'd not seen before. It is worth seeing even if it is entirely sung..........didn't know Anne Hathaway could sing like that. Great performances.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Really? That's cool. I guess I stand corrected then about only people that are into musicals will like the movie. Anyways, I'm glad to hear you liked the movie. :)

    • Castlepaloma profile image

      Castlepaloma 4 years ago from Saskatchewan, Canada

      Loved the film, and not normanlly into musicial