In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives for ever.
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.
Helena Bonham Carter
An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Helena Bonham Carter,
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
An extended version of "Beggar at the Feast" was filmed but not included due to the length of time it took for filming. It included the Thenardiers frolicking with the wedding cake among other things. See more »
The calf seen wandering in the barricades scene is a whitefaced hereford poll. That breed did not exist before the 1880, and did not reach France until the 20th Century. See more »
Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye.
Look down, look down, you're here until you die.
See more »
The film opens without any opening credits. The title of the film is stated just before the closing credits. See more »
As I was a kid growing up in Italy, I remember when the national TV channels broadcast classical operas. Even as a kid, I could understand the efforts of the directors who had to work with what they had---editing in real time live stage actors. Obviously, movie directors do not have the limitation--- they can edit, dub, sync, use CGI, and move their cameras at will, in harmony or in counterpoint to the music. So, I was utterly disappointed when I saw that Tom Hooper did not achieve anything better than the old-timey Italian TV directors could do with staged opera.
That is even more surprising because Hooper is working on Les Miserables---the longest-running, most beloved musical of all time. Les Mis contains some of the most beautiful, moving, and powerful pieces of music ever written. And its music is layered on one of the best and richest novel plots.
With such a rich material available, Tom Hopper makes the odd decision in concentrating all of his efforts in beautifully rich scenarios and CGI reconstructions of Paris (one of which is bizarrely out of perspective), and filming every single solo as a more-or-less single shot of the close-up of the singer. With Anne Hathaway's performance, it kind of works, but it fails with everybody else. In fact, I found that this choice creates two kinds of problems. First, it creates an uncanny contrast between the intensity of the performance (strengthened by the close-ups) and the fact that, well, the characters are SINGING, even when dying. Somehow, forcing the intensity of the acting breaks the spell instead of strengthening it.
Second, and most importantly, there is an unresolved tension between the music and the immobility of the camera. the music drives the feelings, and invites motion and changes. You want the camera to roll and open spaces, and, instead, you find yourself still staring at Hugh Jackman's wrinkles. One might say that this is some kind of ascetic directorial decision, but no---when the characters are not singing Tom Hooper abuses impossible camera work that zooms in and out at impossible distances, from the detail of a face to bird's eye views of Paris. So the reason for the poor filming of singing actors must lay somewhere else. Maybe the root of these problems is Hooper's much celebrated choice of having the actors sing in real-time. But, again, why was decision made in the first place? Since it causes problems in the final result, I see no point in recording the actors while singing live--- if not for bragging about it later on.
So, in summary, the movie was disappointing. And good performances (or even great performances) cannot save a weak directorial work that fails to shape the richness of the story and the music. If the director was someone like the energetic Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge! and Ballroom), we could have had a real movie, if not a masterpiece. Instead, we got an expensive TV Christmas special.
39 of 69 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?