One of my most emotional and satisfying cinematic experiences of the year.
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The wait is over. I finally got to see the film version of “Les Miserable”.
This is the one film I have been anticipating for some time.
Was it as good as I had hoped? Not quite! Was it as bad as I was afraid it might be? Not by a long shot!
I have been a “Les Miz” fan since I first saw it on the stage some 15 or 20 years ago. Since then I’ve seen the show three or four times. But this was the first time that I was able to understand all the words. What a revelation! I understood the story so much better after having seen the film, and I appreciate it much more.
“Les Miserables” is a highly entertaining and absorbing film. Its two-and-a-half-hour running time just seemed to fly by. Once you get caught up in the story and the glorious music sweeps over you, you just become immersed in the film.
Most of us know the basic story that Victor Hugo wrote some 150 years ago, about Jean Valjean, and his struggles to keep from being discovered and reincarcerated by a merciless and relentless police officer by the name of Javert.
The music is superb. The acting is excellent, with some ingenious casting.
Putting Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter into the roles of the inn keeper and his wife was brilliant. They stole the show whenever they were on screen.
Anne Hathaway does an award winning turn as Fantine and her emotional rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” is spot on and haunting. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe do excellent work in the acting department and although they make a valiant and very commendable effort in singing the songs, they just don’t come up to the standards of the Broadway or London stage shows.
Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Samantha Barks as Eponine are well cast and give fine performances. Amanda Seyfried who was so outstanding as the daughter in “Mamma Mia”, is a little disappointing. While she has proven that she has the vocal chops, somehow she doesn’t really show them off to the best effect in this film.
Once again, I have to say that the music was excellent and the idea of recording the songs live, while it was being filmed, worked very well, especially in the Anne Hathaway numbers. And the cinematography was imaginative and even breathtaking. In the scenes where the film opens up the settings in the play and go beyond the carefully constructed sets.
And the way in which the student revolt is filmed is truly remarkable. We actually watch as the barricade is being built and can almost believe that we’re part of the battle between the students and the government forces. It makes for an exciting scene and ratchets up the suspense and emotions even higher.
Let me assure you of one thing: The film packs a very powerful punch. Be sure to bring lots of Kleenex. The ending is a real tear jerker of mega proportions.
Overall, I’d have to give this film at least three and a half stars out of four. A lot of elements came together on this film and made for one of my most emotional and satisfying cinematic experiences of the year.