In my eyes Les Miserables was always going to be the biggest film of the year, having seen and loved the musical and boasting one of the most famous songs in musical theatre ‘I dreamed a dream’. The film had alot to live up to, being the winner of the Golden Globe for best film I knew I was in for a treat.
The basic perception of the film was that it is a tear jerker for the women and not one for the ‘manly’ amongst us, this is very wrong. There are many scenes which are yes, sad and tragic, Anne Hathaway (Fantine)’s rendition of ‘I dreamed a dream’ did force me to produce the tears. Well worth the Golden Globe, my only criticisms of her are that she isn’t in the film long enough. Obviously not her fault, just the way the musical was written. Also Tom Hooper is a big fan of close up camera angles, I think some of Anne’s close ups are a little unwarranted and I feel it takes away from the big picture when her whole face doesn’t fit into the screen.
Hugh Jackman whom I have been a big fan of since Van Helsing, all those years ago has rightly won the Golden Globe for best Actor for his performance as Jean Valijean. The basic story of Jean is that he is imprisoned for 19 years for stealing bread, (I know right). He decided to start a new life and so goes on the run with a young girl called Cosette (Isabelle Allen) who goes on to fall in love with a campaigner of the French Revolution. The character is very much as he is in the musical and Mr Jackman truly brings him to life.
Russell Crowe has definitely got his critics, we have all heard how great the film is but how bad poor Russell’s voice doesn’t fit in. In my opinion Javert is one of the strengths of the film. He plays the role well, has a few problems with the singing but his characterisation can allow this to be over looked.
My weak point of the movie would be Amanda Seyfried’s portrayal of Cosette, yes she has also had her critics, thinking the part is the downer of the film to which I do agree. Although the part is played very much the same as it is in the musical, the fact that it seems so bad on the big screen will show you with big difference between stage and screen. The character brings out the best in the ones around her and given the tragedies around her still manages to live happily ever after. I think the best part is Seyfried’s singing, which we got a good look at in ‘Mamma Mia’ but we really see how well she can sing and boy can she hit the high notes.
Sacha Baron Cohen brings the much needed comedy to the story, and teams up with Helena Bonham Carter. (First person who has managed this and not been Johnny Depp) He adds some much needed relief to a really sad story and seems to take the role in his stride.
The best news to come out of the movie was the fact that all the songs were being sung live on set, this adds a certain quality to the film that you can pick up on straight away. I will also say for all those men wondering whether or not to go and see this because it’s a musical, go and see it. There are boobs everywhere and with the added comedy relief every now and then I assure you, you will love it. Don’t let the running time of a little under 3 hours put you off, it’s well worth watching. Overall it’s a very well put together movie and has come across from stage a lot better than I expected.
TIP: Take some tissues for the women.
RATING: 5 stars
This article was written by Philippa Hopwood, who is currently a journalism student at Staffordshire university, she is an enthusiast of the performing arts. She tries to get as involved as possible when it comes to film-making with the BYFA.