FILM REVIEW: LES MISERABLES (12A)

Over the years converting Broadway productions to the big-screen has been a tough task – but this musical could have just changed all that.

For those musical-naysayers out there, or simply those uninitiated to the legacy of Les Mis, stupendous vocal performances from A-list stars make this a must-see.

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway have just picked up Golden Globes (as well as Oscar nods) for their performances as parole-breaking social-climber Jean Valjean and ex-factory worker-turned-prostitute mother Fantine respectively, but that is just the tip of the iceberg in this musical based during the French Revolution.

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Throw in Russell Crowe as ruthless policeman Javert, Mamma Mia’s (slightly underused) Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, British talent Eddie Redmayne shining as revolution rebel Marius, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter adding comic relief as infamous innkeepers the Thernardiers – then this really is an absolute triumph for Hollywood.

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The story is pretty simple. Former slave Valjean makes a new life for himself after breaking parole. Valjean takes in young Cosette after the dying pleas of ex-employee Fantine. They go on the run as Javert closes in. Older Cosette and Marius fall in love during the French revolution. All this is relayed nearly entirely by song.

And when Anne Hathaway sings ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ – it is arguably the most exquisite version of the song I’ve ever heard. And she is simply fantastic to boot – and should win Best Supporting Actress come Oscar gong time.

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Throw in classic numbers from the play – when the whole cast sings ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’ being my favourite – and you have a musical-convert writing this review.

If you’re really not into this sort of thing the run-time and odd padded-out lesser song could prove to be a bit cloying, but as this is still comfortably less than the musical’s duration, The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper does a fine job keeping it pieced together.

But it’s the cast who are the real winners – showing that you can make a musical if your film possesses actors with vocal talent.

And for that alone it’s well worth a watch.

If you’re disregarding this out of hand, don’t be so miserable and give it a shot. You’ll be glad you did.

Gavin Miller

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Samantha Barks, Aaron Tvelt, Daniel Huttlestone, Colm Wilkinson, Michael Jibson, Adrian Scarborough, Tim Downie, Isabelle Allen

Running Time: 2hrs 35mins

Director: Tom Hooper [youtube id=”nQ10YRA3VKI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

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