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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

Review:

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.

B+

5 comments:

  1. it's definitely a spectacle to look at. but i didn't think everyone could sing and not everyone could act (and few could do both). crowe is a great actor for the role but not for a musical, as you indicated. redmayne i thought was terrible portaying marius. he gave me nothing. hathaway was great as was jackman (the best performances i've ever seen from those two). i didn't love the editing either, as a fan of the book and the musical. the story itself is a bit bombastic but i think it's much more authentic than this version portrays.

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    1. Redmayne left no impression on me either, he was very flat. I agree with you about the editing, it seemed very scattershot and unfocused.

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  2. Of course Seyfried is outshone, she has no talent. Plus, Cossette is a very insipid character, typical of what men thought a lady should be at the time. Eponine is strong, vibrant and lives by her wits. Marius is intimidated by her so he can't really love her. He is incapable of appreciating her.

    I had a problem with Eddie Redmayne as Marius. He's not bold or dramatic enough, simply a milquetoast Englishman. So I guess he was more than a match for the dreadful Amanda. ;)

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  3. I agree that Samantha Barks was excellent as Eponine but I like Redmayne just as much!

    I loved it although it was just a smidge too long

    K

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    Replies
    1. Redmayne, for some reason, didn't leave much of an impression. I'd need another viewing to make sure though and yes it's a tad too long for its own good.

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