Saturday, December 29, 2012
MOVIE REVIEW: LES MISERABLES
The King's Speech's Tom Hooper directs this adaptation of Cameron Mackintosh's successful musical version of Victor Hugo's classic novel. The drama surrounds the obsessive quest of Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) as he spends years in an effort to capture escaped convict Jean Valjean. Hugh Jackman co-stars in the Universal Pictures production. Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, and Sacha Baron Cohen also star. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
Release Date: Dec 25, 2012
Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements
Runtime: 2 hr. 38 min.
Genres: Drama, Music/Performing Arts
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen,
Helena Bonham Carter
The cinematic version of Les Misérables will give you goose bumps one moment then have readjusting in your chair as the barrage of bombastic yet bold musical numbers beat you into submission. It’s all wonderfully staged by a dedicated Tom Hooper. He treats this beloved musical with a tenderness and love throughout. Everything is wonderful to look at and listen to. Hooper just lets you dive right in and never really lets you take a breath. His A+ cast belts out tune after tune with impassioned veracity and emotional heft. At its center is Hugh Jackman who anchors the entire production with his impressive vocals and performance. Jackman’s stage talent and experience is readily apparent, making his casting a real win for film. Anne Hathaway has garnered plenty of attention because of her turn as Fantine and its well deserved. Her screen time is incredibly limited but she leaves a strong emotional impression. Less impressive is a miscast Russell Crowe. I’ve been a fan of Crowe for years and while he looks the part, his vocal chops are just all wrong for this type of film and character. It’s a major misstep, one that detracts from the film’s quality as a whole which is a real shame. An angelic Amanda Seyfried is strong if limited as the older Cosette. She’s outshined by her character’s counterpart played by Samantha Barks. Barks oozes melancholy as she belts out her songs about unrequited love. Hooper moves his film at a methodical pace but the story does leave you feeling a bit disjointed as it changes from intimate to global back to intimate. Flaws aside, it’s an opulent piece of musical filmmaking which keeps your eyes glued to each actor’s soulful eyes as they sing about dreams lost and found.