Review: Victor Hugo’s 1862 classic novel that later became one of the longest running Broadway musicals now comes to you on the big screen. Interesting trivia: Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) chose to record all the songs live, while filming, instead of in a studio. So, no lip sync, just live action singing. Wow! That’s why it was such an emotional roller coaster. Each actor, each song, doing exactly what it is supposed to do, touch a cord inside you, make you feel what they feel. From the novel to Broadway to film, Victor Hugo’s epic tale has traveled a long way. I guarantee it will also make the slow, steady and emotional journey into your heart. Whether or not you like musicals, you will find something to love about this classic adaptation.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine`s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. Anne Hathaway as Fantine is extraordinary. She will tug at your heart strings and make sure there is a lump in your throat throughout her performance. I dreamed a dream, which is a close bloc shot of her face while she sings in despair, in anguish and in pain. You will feel her through her eyes and voice. She deserves all the awards she will be receiving for that one song.
Hugh Jackman, now before we get to Hugh, there are three standout performances, Hathaway, Jackman and Samantha Barks as Eponine. A rising young star among seasoned actors. Jackman is so brilliant as Jean Valjean that he outshines talent like Russel Crowe, Helena Carter and others. In probably one of the best performances of his life, Jackman displays exquisite singing talent and superb acting chops. Vulnerable, desperate and feeble as the prisoner. Strong, bold and loving as a father. Generous and almost saint like towards the end. My God! Hugh Jackman, where did you learn to pull the audience towards you like that? Bravo I say! In all possibility, that Oscar is yours!
The stand out songs, performance wise are- Anne Hathaway’s I dreamed a dream and Jackman’s What is a man? Samantha Barks as the lovelorn Eponine also delivers a touching number in the rain.
All in all, Les Miserables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams, unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption. As the makers have rightly suggested, "The film is a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit."
It is in my opinion, truly a timeless tale. Love, sacrifice, pain, dreams, redemption, duty, freedom. All timeless feelings. Feelings that will always victimize the human spirit. The meaning of Les Miserables couldn’t have been more apt – the victims.
Verdict: A timeless and epic tale told brilliantly thanks to breathtaking performances.
Release Date: Jan 18, 2013
Director: Tom Hooper
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Run time: 2 hrs 37 mins
Cast & Crew: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit