Saturday, 26 January 2013

'Les Miserables' (2013) Film Review

I just went to see Tom Hooper's musical Les Miserables and was blown away- nominated for 8 Oscars, 9 BAFTAS and winner of three Golden Globes- this is definitely a MUST SEE MOVIE.

When I was a young boy, I was taken to see the West End musical but given the seats we had and my lack of attention, I did not get the story and found it rather boring... then having seen the 1998 film version which I surprisingly liked, lit a spark of excitement for the moving tale of faith, grace and love.

Les Miserables tells of a criminal Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) who is on parole and after having no place to stay, is accepted into a church by a bishop, who feeds him and gives him a place to sleep. Tempted by a set of silverware, he steals it and runs away in the night. After being caught and brought back to the bishop, Jean Valjean is shown grace and mercy- the bishop declares that he has given him the silverware and sets him free. Moved by such an act of compassion, Valjean turns his life around and becomes mayor of Montriuel and a factory owner.

Fantine (Anne Hathaway), one of the factory workers is cast out and unjustly loses her job after being discovered of having a child out of wedlock. Unable to pay for her daughter Cosette, she resorts to selling her hair and prostitution. Walking by after an incident, Jean Valjean recognises Fantine and rescues her from her predicament. On her deathbed, he promises to look after her daughter Cosette.

Police Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) has been looking for Jean Valjean ever since he skipped parole and meets him again in Montreuil, giving chase wherever he goes. With Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) in his care, Jean Valjean must do everything he can to protect her whilst avoiding capture, always on the run, but when Cosette meets Marius (Eddie Redmayne), his plans are thrown and he risks everything for her happiness.

At over two and a half hours long, the movie is extremely packed. The multi-layered and complex plot-line is well paced, but a bit slow at times, but is uplifted by musical moments and surprisingly hilarious scenes.

Tom Hooper's 2012 musical film takes a brave step in filming the stars sing the songs live instead of the traditional way of recording in a studio and then miming along whilst acting. This brings a genuine emotion into the actors' performance and that is clearly seen, most notably in Anne Hathaway's spectacular performance of 'I dreamed a dream' which was highly emotional (here comes the Oscar)!

Musically, all the songs from the stage production were included but altered, rearranged etc. It also features new song 'Suddenly' (also nominated for an Oscar) which was seamlessly added.

A majority of the cast held their own in the musical performances, with the live recordings making it a lot more raw and real- sacrificing some musical accuracy and smoothness, but adds to the emotional captivation of the audience. 

The set was also beautifully done with a wonderful grey colour scheme which is apparently throughout with symbolism through colour occurring throughout the movie eg. Fantine' pink dress in factory, red jackets in revolt etc.

The first half of the movie was definitely more emotional and intense, but was followed by a more dramatic and perhaps exciting second half, following the structure of the production somewhat. As we reach the climax and ending, there is a great catharsis. Despite the tragedy, the pain, the struggles, there is hope and this is emphasised in the finale which brings it back to a positive light.

Hugh Jackman- Jean Valjean
Russell Crowe- Javert
Anne Hathaway- Fantine
Amanda Seyfried- Cosette
Eddie Redmayne- Marius
Sacha Baron Cohen- Thenardier
Helena Bonham Carter- Madam Thenardier

Also stars Gossip Girl's Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks and Isabelle Allen.

The cast was extremely well chosen. I can see why Samantha Barks beat out Taylor Swift for the role of Eponine. Both Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman gave the performance of a lifetime and is supported extremely well by the stoic Russell Crowe.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter create a fantastic and hilarious couple dynamic, bringing laughter to the audience in a very memorable and distrinct performance.

Tom Hooper's risk paid off in a stunning and original musical version of the stage production of 'Les Miserables'. With a flawless cast and beautiful direction, the story of Jean Valjean is brought to life in an emotional, moving and effective way. 

Get the tissues ready and prepare to get hooked to some of the smashing songs in the movie, and come next month, expect this to rack up most of those Academy Awards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Add your comment here!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...