Review #20 Les Miserables


Directed by- Tom Hooper

Starring- Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe

 

I’ve never seen a Les Miserables before. Not even the stage production. However, I’m familiar with the context. Revolutions, singing, Susan Boyle etc. etc.

And after reading all the reviews, acknowledging all the Academy Award nominations, and studying the extreme diets Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman went through (horrendous stuff- I’d much rather be overweight and satisfied), I must say, I found the film…. Meh. Let me start with the good stuff.

It was visually stunning, the acting was inspiring, the singing was heart-wrenching (in both the good and the bad way- I shall explain).

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), is a convict who has been hunted for years by Javert (Russell Crowe), after he breaks parole. Valjean then meets a factory worker, Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and agrees to care for her daughter (Amanda Seyfried).

So we have a good story, with singing. I think musicals are quite a personal thing, some people like them, some people hate them, and some are very specific about them. I’m in the third category. I like people randomly breaking out into song. As I learnt in my drama class, it reminds you that the movie isn’t real. However, in this Les Mis, they sing EVERYTHING. It’s like an Andrew Lloyd Webber production. And when EVERYTHING is being sung, that also means that Russell Crowe sings…. a lot…. Most critics panned him. Quite rightly so. He was rubbish. In all fairness to him, I’d give him points for effort, but next to Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and even Eddie Redmayne (a rather surprising star who plays Amanda Seyfried’s love interest), he’s not brilliant.

Sacha Baren Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter don’t steal the show but their scenes are long and become boring as they just do the same thing over and over again (generally act like overgrown delinquents) and the little revolutionary children in the ‘chorus’ are all cockneys, which is a little unusual.

Overall I was rather disappointed, so maybe if you don’t go in with too high expectations you’ll quite enjoy it. Although it’s rather fun to think of it as a musical starring Cat Woman, Gladiator and Wolverine.

Three stars.

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