Les Miserables: Review

So long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth…Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use.

After the vast marketing campaign and the sheer weight of build up to the film I was more relieved at its conclusion than anything else. Whilst the majority of people applauded I took a moment to reflect briefly on what was an emotional rollercoaster.

Tom Hooper and his writing team successfully collated the principle aspects of Victor Hugo’s novel with Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubill’s musical. There is a pride in viewing this film as a continuation to the current streak of magnificent British filmmaking.

It is visually stunning; with much recognition due to Danny Cohen who was part of Hooper’s The King’s Speech team. It is a surprise Tom Hooper was omitted from the Best Director category at the Academy awards: proving politics more often gets the better of quality filmmaking.

It took time for me to go with it. Valjean’s soliloquy What Have I Done pulled the film through the back story and following Fantine’s death it had me. I had always been sceptical of musical films following the initial frustration of The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street however Les Miserables is aHIn entirely different proposition. It is quite simply epic. It’s pure theatre on the big screen.

Hugh Jackman (Valjean) will certainly provide competition for early Oscar best actor favourite Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln). He is all he is expected to be: delivering a heroic strong male powering above the star cast and he can sing.

Not the same can be said of Russell Crowe. Unfortunately he doesn’t quite pull off the characteristics of Javert. His singing isn’t nearly as horrifying as Pierce Brosnan’s in Mamma Mia but it’s frustrating enough. I felt I should have hated him more for his persistent pursuit of Valjean rather than his inability to oppose him through song. That aside everyone is perfectly cast.

There are sensational performances from young Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) who provoked much laughs but more tears. I was very impressed by Samantha Barks (Eponine), Aaron Tveit (Enjolras) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) who all maintain the same power and momentum of performance to that of Hugh Jackman.

Anne Hathaway may only be on screen for an estimated twenty minutes but the poignancy of her performance beautifully displays the suppression of women in 19th century France. I still maintain her supporting role in The Dark Knight Rises is more worthy of awards recognition.

The epic conclusion Do You Hear The People Sing left me emotionally drained. I could have done with just a couple of minutes more in the darkness to compose myself before exiting the screening. It’s an emotional rollercoaster in terms of the political revolution, Valjean’s transition and the romanticism of it all.

9/10

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