“Les Miserables” was timeless and universal, and I’m satisfied. I am not into musical films all that much and the last one I remembered watching was Chicago. However, the fact that this is a motion picture adaptation of one of the greatest novel s of 19th century made this movie irresistible. Though it was surprising that the actors had to sing their lines on scenes of intense fight and escape, I cannot disagree that it is entertaining the way it is. If you ever tried running away from your past and dreamed of transforming yourself into somebody new, this may be a film for you.
“Les Miserables” is a musical drama and romance movie directed by Tom Hopper and was released in December of 2012. The entire movie runs for 158 minutes – ramming the longest ever written novel of Victor Hugo but giving an enough time to show viewers the miserable story on the big screen. Distributed by Universal Studios, it is an enthralling story of broken dreams, social condemnation and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and set amid the politically turbulent 19th century France, ex-prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) tries to lead a new life with the hope given by Bishop Myriel (Colm Wilkinson) as he runs from merciless Inspector Javert (Russel Crowe). Living in a new identity as Monsieur Madeleine, the factory owner, he cross path with Fantine (Anne Hathaway) , a grisette – a working class woman in France who is at a turning point in her life as she turns into prostitution to pay money to the evil innkeeper and his wife who look after her child Cossette (Isabelle Allen ). Valjean decides to take care of the child Cosette as a promise to Fantine. Seven years later, Cosette (now Amanda Seyfried) grew up to be a beautiful lady and fell in love with the revolutionist student Marius ( Eddie Redmayne) who is also loved discretely by Eponine (Samantha Barks).
The actors played the roles with quite some sacrifices made. Hugh Jackman, persistent to get the main role with his father as his inspiration chose to do a one-man show a week as practice; consequently making him a perfectly brilliant Jean Valjean, looking old in make-up and rugged dirty clothing. He starved himself and loses 25-30 pounds to achieve a scrawny frame of prisoner 24601. Anne Hathaway lost 11 kilograms, as well as her beautiful hair to embody her character as the tragic Fantine, though I must say, that hair-cutting scene didn’t require much acting. Her tears there were quite real, since she really cut her hair for it. I was not used to seeing her looking filthy, with hair cut in a horrible way, and all skin and bones. Everything about her was miserable, which stirred up the most perfect emotions in me, especially when she sang her piece – ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ with exceptional emotional depth.
Russel Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne were just as good , playing their characters. Stage actress Samantha Barks’s version of ‘On My Own ‘ gave me goose bumps. She did something to the song that made it magically astounding – I couldn’t stop singing it afterwards. The hilarious Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (Mr. and Mrs. Thenardiers) gave this brutal film a comic lift with their quirky acting. The entire cast turned out amazing performances, as evidenced by the scene where the revolutionaries sang ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ I heard liberation and exhilaration , and I felt so much pride in that moment that I felt like I wanted to be one of them. Indeed ‘Those who do not weep, do not see’ like what Victor Hugo said.
“Les Miserables,” a movie with $61 million budget that hits the box office big time. The songs used are contagious and tell a gracious sentiment. The costumes are well-planned and are in colors of patriotic harmony though some of the head dresses are off especially the one of Madam Thenardiers, making her look like she’s not a master of the house. The cinematography was superb though. The lighting jived with the seriousness of the theme. The star of the film was the script of course – it was able to enabled viewers to travel with the flow of the story. Overall , I give this movie five thumbs-up and it truly deserves the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for 2012.