The novel, ‘Les Misérables’ is based on the French revolution, written by Victor Hugo and published in 1862.
It’s a heart wrenching tale that begins with low-class, Jean Valjean being released on parole after 19 years of being in prison. Valjean was originally imprisoned for a few years after stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister. In a desperate attempt to get back to his family, he tried to escape and ended up in prison for a lot longer.
The officer who releases him, Javier, swears to find him should he break his parole.
On his release, he is shunned and mistreated, being a convict. A Bishop welcomes him in and in the night he steals their silverware, upon capture and brought to the Bishop, the Bishop claims to have given it to him.
This act of kindness changes Valjean’s view on life. He uses a different name, Monsieur Madeleine and lives a wealthier life as the owner of a factory. However, his path crosses Javier’s again, who recognises him.
Saying anything more than this would lead to me being the biggest and worst spoiler. All I I’ll say is that the plot grows to include a mother’s love for a child as well as a dramatic love triangle.
Colloquially known as ‘Les Mis’, it has currently been redone in to a film with a twist, a musical. The book has been remade about 4 times, as well as numerous musicals and radio shows. However, this is the 1st musical film. Initially, I was sceptical, such a serious movie being put to song?! To be honest, I pictured Glee or Grease, or something else equally as happy and entertaining.
It started off very slowly and just looking at the running time made me sleepy, 158 minutes. The first hour passed by without really capturing me, although the songs were catchy, I did not expect that much singing. Yes, yes, I know, it’s a musical, but I expected talking with some singing, not the other way around.
The second half of the movie soon demanded my attention. It was fast-paced with fantastic acting and a really good story. I found myself humming the songs for hours to pass afterwards.
Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) was impeccable, the way in which he carried the production and his tale of zero to hero was well and truly worthy of his Oscar nomination. The man managed to act, sing and dance and look so comfortable doing it that it almost seemed natural to sing instead of talk.
Other actors seemed to struggle a bit more, Russell Crowe, although an amazing actor generally, seemed somewhat uncomfortable with singing. I don’t judge him for that. Other impressive roles were without a doubt Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway and of course, Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, who had small, but definitely not insignificant roles. They have a habit of stealing the show.
The songs I most enjoyed were “Look Down”, “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Who am I?” What I found most interesting was the directors and actors’ work that had to have been put in. To sing and act, as well as make sure everyone harmonised with each other. The fact that the dialogue rhymed in order for it to be sung was impressive – to say the least.
The movie in itself, a musical tear-jerker, was both different and refreshing, but long. I’d have loved some more dialogue and a little less singing. However, being nominated for 8 Oscars and winning 3, what does my opinion count?
Les Misérables movie review written by Shameez Patel, follow her rantings on Twitter HERE