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Jean Valjean, known as Prisoner 24601, is released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself while evading the grip of the persistent Inspector Javert. Set in post-revolutionary France, the story reaches resolution against the background of the June Rebellion. Written by
When Valjean gets down on one knee to tell Cosette of her mother's fate, he appears to reach up and take his hat off. When the camera goes from Cosette back to Jean, his hat is still sitting on top of his head. See more »
Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye.
Look down, look down, you're here until you die.
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The film opens without any opening credits. The title of the film is stated just before the closing credits. See more »
As someone who has been burned by every single Hollywood adaptation of Les Miserables, let me categorically state that this time it was done right! Everything from the acting to the music to the sets was borderline perfect. The only thing that could possibly be considered a negative was something that was absolutely unavoidable. That is, when you are taking a novel as voluminous as Les Miserables and condensing it into a feature length movie, some things will be cut or rushed. This is no exception. The movie moves at breakneck speed. Anyone who is fond of the Broadway musical will no doubt not be bothered by it, but people new to the story or those who have only read the novel might be put off by it.
As far as the acting and music is concerned, I can find very little to fault. Russel Crowe was the weakest of the lot as I just didn't find his voice to be up to the task of singing some of Javert's songs (Stars immediately springs to mind). Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Samantha Barks were all especially good. The intense emotions their characters experience throughout the story are perfectly performed.
This naturally leads to a critique of the music. Anyone familiar with the Broadway show will undoubtedly find themselves joyously mouthing along to the familiar lyrics and might be surprised at a couple of brand new songs written specifically for the movie. Just as in the show, the music is brilliant and meshes wonderfully with the story.
One of the biggest treats, however, were the sets and special effects. The beauty and squalor of 19th century Paris was showcased magnificently and it really allowed you to become engrossed in story.
This is a movie that both fans of the novel as well as fans of the musical can both fall in love with, since even though there are some deviations from the novel this is still the closest a film version has ever come to being completely faithful to the book. Additionally, this movie is a perfect chance for those who have never read the book or haven't heard of or had a chance to see the Broadway show. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to everyone. My only warning is to limit your fluid intake, since at 2.5+ hours your chance of encountering an overflowing bladder is a very real danger.
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