Sets are amazing, acting is amazing, sound is amazing. However if you have not read or seen the previous versions of this story, you will be lost. All in all a great film for fans of Les Mis, but new comers beware.
Let's be honest...if you have never heard of LES MISERABLES, I don't understand what would be the motivation to see the film in the first place. Unless you have been living under a rock or completely oblivious to theatre... then you are not familiar with the one the greatest contemporary musicals produced on stage within the last 30 years!
With that said, anyone who feels that a film set in Paris (repelboarders) needs to be a showpiece reflecting the splendor of the City of Lights would be grossly missing the point of what the original book and its theatre adaptation was all about to begin with. If you are going to write a review, do you even know what you are writing about? (HINT: do you know what the title means??? THE MISERABLES! Yeah, it's gonna be a tear- jerker!)
With that bit of business put aside, the film is a wonderful Christmas gift that was surely opened as the last big present of 2012! I have been a huge fan of the musical for over 30 years and I rightfully placed high expectations to what I wanted to see the film adaptation to reveal! It did not let me down! Director Tom Hooper was the best choice to really go into the gut- wrenching portrayals of the characters and was never afraid to show all the necessary sides: good or bad, right or wrong. Based on the works of the mini- series JOHN ADAMS, which Hooper also directed, the feeling of realism throughout the production assisted with the presentation. You see it all! The "lovely ladies" aren't so lovely afterall... slightly beaten and worn out, make-up badly applied and even cold sores to help really bring the ladies of the night to life. That's just a small example.
Anne Hathaway clearly takes the award for best scene- stealer as the viewer cannot help themselves from being completely taken by her performance as a single mother who would literally do anything to protect her young daughter from the evils of the streets. As previously mentioned, Hugh Jackman, too, is perfectly casted as Jean Valjean... a man who did nine years in prison for a minor crime and turns those years as hate and revenge towards the world, yet, an act of kindness can change a man.
A message of "pay it forward" is underlined all of the filth and tears within the film...not to mention a spectacular soundtrack filled with memorable music and performances.
This is, by far, the type of film that needs to be enjoyed in the best available presentation within your local movie houses!
As an ensemble, the cast brings the material to life in all-around incredibly engaging and emotional performances. Tom Hooper's choices, in terms of cinematography and mise-en-scene, are what makes the film stand out amongst the competition. Specifically, his choice to film most of the songs close-up in one take adds a surprising layer of emotional depth that could potentially have been lost with multiple cuts and different framing. Hooper mentioned after the screening that he would not have made the film without the existence of Hugh Jackman, and it shows. Big time. Jackman arguably brings a career-best performance to the screen as Jean Valjean.
This filmed version went places that the stage show could not physically take you visually.
So many highlights, too many to mention here...go & see it for yourself. Watch out for "Empty Chairs, Empty Tables", Eddie Redmayne absolutely floored me! That's not to take it away from all the cast. Stunning all round!
Look out for Colm Wilkinson...a nice touch! Well done to all involved.
I was fascinated with this glorious musical. Highly entertaining and beautifully sung and choreographed! I gave it 8 out 10 but only because I looked at my watch (it ran a bit long), plus Russell Crowe's singing voice is just a bit weak compared to the others in the cast.
Never was I so happy to see a musical and a revolution come to an end. A movie is more than an endless series of close-ups of people singing and weeping for over 2 hours. To have a story set in Paris and never see much of the city except as an out of focus and barely noticeable backdrop is appalling. To have Hugh Jackman on the run for so long and never know exactly where he is in time and space diminished the overall conflict between he and Russell Crowe and reduced the musical to overwrought earnestness. The movie hit its weepy, sorrow- stride from the get-go and never let up, thrusting the viewer to within inches of every actors face, every pore, every ounce of dirt, grime and tears and with cameras that never stopped moving. Ever! Save it for Blu-ray release when you can watch it from a distance and not feel like every actor and song were in your face trying to make you feel something you could have felt with half the effort. Do the French actually cry as much as they do in this movie? When every character, including Russell Crowe, ends up with tears welling, gushing and streaming, it's not time to get out the hanker chiefs, it's time to dip a nacho chip into the cheeses dip and and chuckle... "I've been had."
Having only seen lesser versions of this in local theater and growing up with the music around, I watched this movie having no real expectations. The music was well done. I wouldn't be able to tell which songs were missing. I noticed that during a lot of the songs, it was just a close up on the actor singing it the whole time. I found that stylistic choice strange, but at the same time, it was nice to see the emotion close up in the actor's face. That is something you don't get if you are sitting fifty feet away from the performer in the musical play. The movie got through Hugh Jackman's character's story well. But I didn't find myself terribly compelled by his adopted daughter's love story with the young revolutionist. I don't know if it is developed more in the musical, but I really did not care about their relationship at all. Now a note on the PG-13 rating: It definitely deserved the PG-13 rating it received. The sexual content mentioned in the mpaa rating is actually more graphic than you'd expect. There are two sex scenes where it is very clear what is going on. So you might want to think about that if you are taking younger kids. Also the violence was mostly bloodless and implied, however, you do see a lot of blood on the ground and in the gutter after the battle. Overall, the movie was worth watching with good music. Hugh struggled to hit a few high notes though. I won't be rushing out to see it again, but I am glad I watched it.
A singularly miserable piece of cinema. While the craftsmanship can be admired on a macro level, the overall effect of the film is one of over-earnestness. Partially to blame is the alleged music and inane lyrics of the original "musical." But the lack of providing clear, strong, and character based motivations, or even simple understanding of the context within each scene occurs renders this less a cinematic experience than a pageant of mediocre singers singing mediocre songs.
The fact that the camera NEVER stops moving isn't enough to fool the audience. This is one mess of a movie.
This was the first time ever that I'd watched Les Miserables and even heard of it but I must say it was amazing. Hugh Jackmans' performance was spectacular and honestly the scenes I looked forward to seeing were the scenes with Jackman and Crowe together. Simply amazing. I was reading a review for this movie when I saw a reviewer write this "The only weak link in the chain is Crowe, who can’t compete with his highly trained castmates, while his take on Javert’s extended meltdown is unexpectedly flat, unable to seize the tumultuous waves of doubt and denial as the inspector is rocked by Valjean’s compassion. Crowe swallows his songs and underplays the agony, looking like a mannequin next to animated efforts from the rest of the cast." I highly disagree with this opinion, Crowe has a strong voice and he most deffinatley can compete with his cast mates, and no he does not look like a mannequin because last time I checked a mannequin couldn't make me cry, that's right, Crowes' acting was that amazing that it made me cry. Seriously dude, don't bag out Crowe!