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Having only seen one previous film version (1935ish), I am delighted to report this version is enthralling and moving! Plan to bring Kleenex!! My husband has had no experience with either book or film version and had only a mild problem with following the story line. If anyone is planning to go without any previous experience with this story -such as my husband- my suggestion is to allow the story to lead and the main story line will make sense! Music is extraordinarily moving, actors portray the emotions of the specific scenes exquisitely and the background scenery allows the one viewing the film to feel and be involved! So many times background scenes maim or injure the believability of the film, but this movie background does NOT!! I was so engrossed in the film, I found myself leaning forward and having lost all tract of time!!
"Les Mis" was anything but miserable! From the opening note to the credit line the Acting was an impeccably forceful, gritty, masterpiece. Not that screen actors would present, or even mostly possess, the illustrious vocal prowess of many, many famed stage performances of this; however, the raw, emotional, realness of these vocal performances propelled the characters to highest rarely seen in any venue. The only peculiar vocal performance, obviously, was that of Russell Crowe, who gave the biggest risk to his celebrity and popularity. In my opinion, however, he will have grown tremendously in his further acting for the enormous amount of emotional fortitude this role required, and also to have had to sing directly into Hugh's face most of the time. The endeavor will outweigh the performance. Hugh...Hugh, Hugh, Hugh. What rare, magnanimous, awe you have inspired. This is your moment that will pale the rest of your career. The scarcity of this level of perfection is extreme, and you have achieved such. This is what the purity of entertainment and acting is about. Anne, your multitudes continue to change and amaze viewer's imaginations. A short but powerful statement. Amanda Seyfried provided a needed sweetness and charm and Eddie Redmayne showed both his vocal power and deep emotional nuance. Samantha Barks performance was particularly moving also. New fav duo SBC and HBC tickled the dark and sarcastic, comical child in those of us that always love them for it, as they commonly do. This film can be summarized by three main points: a beautiful artistic vision, viciously bold directing, and irreligiously brilliant acting. Not a must see, but a must experience film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a big movie fan: sadly, the missus isn't. She is, however, a big
fan of musical theatre in general and Les Mis in particular, so this
film was a must-see for both of us. I'm a fairly recent convert to Les
Mis (the 25th anniversary performance in concert at the O2 did it for
me), and I've been looking forward to the film for months.
So what did we think of the film of the show of the book? Heaven knows that Hugo's novel of Jean Valjean's life adapts well to the screen, there have been enough versions of it. But this is an adaptation of the show, not the book.
On the whole, it has been done extremely well. Cinema can do two things which a stage presentation can't - it can give you panorama, and it can give you intimacy. Tom Hooper's film does both - from the opening sequence in the docks to the superb finale, we are clearly not on stage. And, for much of the important songs, the performers are given close-ups which you wouldn't get in the theatre no matter how good your seats were.
This ties in with the songs being performed rather than sung: in some ways this is a little difficult to get used to - there is an element of expecting stage performance, which is not at all how they are presented - but this is more than made up for by the immediacy and direct connection to the emotion of the pieces.
In common with a lot of people, we were not convinced that Russell Crowe was the Javert we expected to see or hear, but most of the rest of the casting was good, with Jackman, Hathaway and Redmayne standing out (likewise with the singing: Barks and the students were also very good, Seyfried was a bit over-twittery for me).
If you don't like musicals, it may convert you. The music is tried and tested, with at least half a dozen proved showstoppers. And there is a mountain of solid emotion here - my chin quivered and my eyes brimmed for a material percentage of the running time.
It has too many flaws to be considered perfect, but it is very good indeed.
Original reiew 16 Jan: update 19 Feb My third viewing was in the company of hard-as-nails music teacher Mary had her 11 year old daughter Daisy. As predicted, not a tear from Mary and, also as predicted, floods from Daisy. But both thoroughly enjoyed it and thought the music was fantastic.
I Dreamed A Dream is not the powerful show-stopping ballad we all thought it was: it is 3 minutes of raw pain set to music.
The transition from stage to screen is never an easy one for any musical let alone one which is not simply a musical but a modern opera that continues to delight audiences all over the world. Tom Hooper faced this challenge head on and in a risky move, stuck to the show's sung through format and only rarely do the actors employ spoken dialogue. Is there a place for the sung through musical on the big screen? If It is done properly, then yes and that is what makes the movie of Les Miserables a milestone, not the live singing. Much has been said of Anne Hathaway's take on the consumptive prostitute, Fantine, and her version of I dreamed a dream stands out not only because the actress plays the part so well but also because the orchestrations have been stripped to what at times, makes the song sound like a chamber piece but it works so well and you will be forgiven for shedding a few tears. Hugh Jackman delivers a captivating performance as Jean Valjean and the young leads of Cosette, Eponine and Marius are beautifully interpreted by Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne, whose Empty chairs at empty tables will no doubt leave some of you reaching for your hankies again. Yet another stand out performance comes from Aaron Tveit as Enjolras who leads a highly competent set of 'Barricade boys'. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were fittingly cast as the Thenardiers and I laughed during their scenes. The role of Gavroche has been expanded slightly and offers a chance to pay homage to Oliver. That now leaves us with Russell Crowe who appears to be going somewhere with his take on Javert though a sense of frustration over never catching Valjean, is something that could have been worked on and without giving too much away, one might want a bit more anguish leading up to that certain climactic moment. I will however give him credit for giving what I think is a nice rendition of Stars and the confrontation scene is done really well. Voice wise, he's not brilliant but far from awful. On the technical side of things, the IMAX experience of Les Miserables is fantastic and the sound engineers did a superb job of mixing the live vocals with the orchestra in post- production. For those of you who are as nerdy as me, the orchestrations are mainly new, intimate at times and big when necessary. At points they sound more like the ones used for the 25th anniversary concert, in particular during One day more. The synthesisers, bass and electric guitars as well as the drum kit are nowhere to be heard. The costumes are realistic and come across nicely on screen and the CGI added a certain dreamlike quality, taking in the best of what Moulin Rouge and Sweeney Todd had to offer though don't always expect a still camera but do expect some nice vistas. There were moments where I thought a song was edited too much and therefore rushing the narrative a bit and with the film running at more than two and a half hours, a few more minutes wouldn't have killed anyone. We shall see if there will be an extended blu-ray edition. All in all this is a film which I highly recommend and while it is not perfect, the good outshines the bad and most importantly, it touches you as much as the stage production. For all the fans out there, the parts that made you cry in the theatre will make you cry in the cinema and for the uninitiated, you will see why Les Miserables has become the success it is and you will certainly connect with at least one of those iconic characters. I give this film 8/10 Well done Tom Hooper and cast!
After finishing for the second time, my feeling is like being marooned in the nineteenth century-France by the elegance of Les Miserables. English Literature student, Tom Hooper made an accomplishing task to choose and direct the eminent novel Les Miserables. He perfectly transformed the story into the musical narratives with bravery. Two Aussies, Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe were as always splendid in their roles---protagonist Jean Valjean and antagonist Javert. Especially as Hugh's magnitude of acting was too grand; it must be the 2nd mightiest leading characters in 2012 after Daniel Day Lewis. Anna Hathaway, in her little but the most catchy-tragic appearance, won all hearts and emotions and would win surely the Oscar in best supporting female role too :p Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter also glowed to render comical relief brilliantly :p Amanda Seyfried and Eddie were just pitch- okay with their performances. The cinematography, OSTz, costumes, society of that period, French Revolution setting----all came as well- crafted. In my notion, if Oscar were not biased with the American sentiments around "Lincoln", Les Miserables would score Oscar as the ace-flick :p
Absolute priority - take a very big hankie. This screen version captures an intensity of emotion that I feel is impossible with the stage version, simply because you feel you are there, sharing all the experiences, which you cannot do seated in a theatre. Anne Hathaway's rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' is breathtaking and heartbreaking in its emotion as is Eddie Redmayne's of 'Empty Chairs'. There were two elements that for me did not work: the 'Master of the House' scene was not as raucous and rumbustious as seen on stage (twice)-it involved too many customers and therefore the interplay between 'Master' & Mistress'did not come across as effectively, plus I was not taken with Amanda Seyfried's singing voice - reminded me of the type of voice one would hear in a 30's/40's musical film. Although Russell Crowe's voice was not as strong as some may have liked, for me it reflected a character that was damaged and vulnerable and it worked. And for those wondering if Hugh Jackman could make 'Bring Him Home' work - a resounding Yes ! I left the cinema feeling that I had fought on the barricades, suffered alongside a brave man (Jean Valjean), cried over the unrequited love of Eponine, had a flickering of compassion for Javert and all to the background of wonderful overpowering music. And you wonder why I recommended a big hankie !
Les Miserables: 8.5/10
Entertaining, Artistic, Melodious, Brillianted Acted by the ensemble cast and Perfectly presented by the talented Tom Hooper, Les Miserables is almost like a breath of fresh air to movies of the past and is a real entertaining and artistic ride from the start to the end, and is aided by the amazing acting from the front trio(Jackman, Crowe and Hatthaway) and the rest of the cast and the brilliant presentation by Tom Hooper who has made one of the finest Musicals of the past years.
The Story which is based on the book written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, is during the 1800's in France where a prisoner Jean Valjean(Hugh Jackman) is given his freedom after many years of prison, but with a note of shame because of which he can never get any recognition. But after getting inspired by An Old Man after he stayed at his house for a night, he decides to become a better person and after some years He becomes the Mayor of a town and now runs a factory and lives a good life, but his old tormentor or the guard of the prison he was in Javert( Russel Crowe) is back to reveal his identity and take him back to prison, but Jean decides to take the girl of the deceased and dying Fatine( Anne Hatthaway) and fulfill her wishes of keeping her daughter safe and he must run from Javert and give Cosette a good life to live.
The Acting by the whole cast in the movie was absolutely as good as it gets, and every single actor in the scene's have done their role's superbly and have done brilliantly with their lyrics too. But Hugh Jackman steals the show as the lead character Jean Valjean who is running a life of running away and keeping his daughter and himself from harm and Jackman does amazingly in this performance and makes the role his own, his acting and lyrics delivery is quite perfect and this is one of his best performances ever and he proves that he can do lead roles by himself. Anne Hatthaway does'nt have much screen time in the movie, but whatever she has done, she's done to utmost brilliance as the desperate mother Fatine who can do anything to save her daughter from harm, and the role is perfect for her and she does perfectly too. Russel Crowe too did a great job as the ruthless Javert and his lyrics delivery is superb. Sacha Boren Cohen and Helena Botham Carter give an comedical taste to the movie with their hilarious performance as the sly couple who had Cosette, and Amanda Seyfield and Eddie Redmayne too have done their jobs well.
Tom Hooper was quite bold in making this type of a movie, as this is his 4th movie ever but he is such a talented director that he has made a superb musical movie and one of the best of the past years, he had chosen and handled his multi-talented cast perfectly and he has synchronised all the lyrics of the movie brilliantly with the visuals as well as the music, and all the aspects of the scenes were terrificly well made and he continues to keep on making great films and entertaining one's too and considering the amount of work he had to put in with such a huge staff, he really did a great work to make this movie.
The Story of the movie based on a book is quite brilliant and all the years shown in the life of Jean where he travels through different places are written superbly, and it is adapted brilliantly by Screen- Play Writer William Nicholson and the lyrics of the movie are so brilliantly written as well by Herbert Kretzmer and they are greatly fitted for a musical movie and all the aspects of the story are synchronised superbly in the film. The Cinematography of the Movie is also quite great as the places of the pre-war France is shown superbly and some of the scenes are quite spectacular and the Cinematographer Danny Cohen really did a great job.
The Music in these type of Musical-movies are obviously the backbone of the movie and the music director Claude-Michel Schönberg did not disappoint here, as he did a terrific job in synchronising the music perfectly with all the lyrics in the movie and the different type of classical music used by him in the movie can be a music-lover's delight. The Art Direction team needs to get its applause too for its superb effort with the art direction of the film and the 1800's France is so brilliantly shown in the movie. The Costume Design team too needs to get applause for its effort with the costumes worn by the actors and the costumes were so realistic and added to the brilliance of the film.
Finally, this movie is one of the best musical movies i've ever watched and one of 2012's finest movies which can be enjoyed by all sets of audience and this can be a real Awards favourite this time.
I was speechless.
I would gladly kiss the feet of Tom Hooper for this film. Ignore all the trolls. It wasn't boring, it wasn't badly made, it was pure brilliance.
I was in shock at how amazing the film was, not just the actors and the songs, but the camera work and the set was just as beautiful. The whole audience in a full screening gave a standing ovation which I've never seen before.
I would even go as far as saying that it is one of the greatest and most life changing films. I honestly can't understand why anyone would hate it. Everyone needs to see this film. You will never witness something more amazing.
Le miserables is a musical from the academy award winning director Tom
Hooper who is well known for his work in the 2010 film "the kings
speech". Hooper is back again and is stepping out of his comfort zone a
little bit with a musical, not just any musical but the very popular
musical ,Le miserables and not only did he chose a musical with very
little straight talking and most of the movie being sung, but all the
singing was filmed along with the scene in real time witch makes for a
slightly less polished singing performance but if you know Le mis its
anything but polished.
Hugh Jackman plays the lead character Jean val jean who is a convict that was convicted for stealing a loaf of bread for his sisters starving child and was forced to spend 20 years in incarceration. once he was let free he was put on parole but he had ran away and failed to report to his parole and started a new life. the story revolves around him and the people that he helps and puts his life on the line for all while being chased by military officer Je vert played by Kurt Russel. the cast also includes Anne Hathaway and Amanda Sifried.
first of all I'm just going to say this movie is not for everyone.this movie is more like a play happening in front of your eyes in movie form. its a very long movie but i think if it was any shorter it wouldn't really connect with all the points that would make this a full story. with this movie being based off a play it has no real middle, movies usually have three acts and Le mis is based of a play and they have two acts so its a little hard sometimes to figure out where you are in the movie. but the music is very good and you find songs that you herd earlier in the movie coming back is some of the dialogue melody's. the singing really went hand in hand with the acting and although some where better than others overall the acting and singing really carried the movie and kept me interested.
overall i think the movie was very good. it will definitely be a Oscar contender and without a doubt take home some awards. although this movie is not for everybody i think if you go in with a open mind and just see the movie for what it is you will probably come out with a smile on your face.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Overall, I'd give Les Miserablés the 2012 movie a big thumbs up. I've
seen the musical five times, three of which were on Broadway. I own the
original cast recording and have listened to it probably 40 times. But
I was unsure what to expect when Tom Hooper tried to convert it to the
However, this is director Tom Hooper (director of Oscar Best Picture winner, "The Kings Speech") with a cast of superstars (Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, etc.) Hooper is an expert at both driving awesome character acting and historic epic drama. Which will he focus on for Les Mis? And what about the fact that this is the biggest "musical" of all-time and has millions of devotees worldwide---how do you keep them happy too?
Well, they way I look at it, it's like the Designated Hitter in baseball. You focus on acting or on singing. The DH would be like having actual Broadway style singers sing and actual Hollywood actors act... they have their role (AL style.) To ask a pure actor (e.g. Russell Crowe) to sing would be like having pitchers bat (NL style.) So, in effect, you can't easily excel at both. You must choose. Hooper chose actors to act and sing and decided to film them live for each scene, obtaining raw facial expressions and emotions, but sacrificing quality of voice.
As a result of this epic confluence of film, I decided to pick ten things I like about Les Mis (2012) and an equal number of things that do not work. In brief, here they are the ten that work. Will post 10 that do not separately.
This is a three-hour film and nearly four-hour musical, so there's a lot to discuss.
This will only make sense if you've seen the new movie or know the musical, story or book: CONTAINS SPOILERS
> 10 Things that Work: <
1) Crisp, Great Storytelling: Director Hooper manages to make this absurdly complex story with dozens of characters flow very, very well. Even if you've seen the musical, the characters and story flow and come alive very well. I found a number of people who did not know the story (amazingly) and this movie was a solid introduction to the story. He deserves an Oscar nomination just for making this movie work on screen, not because it's the best film of the year.
2) Hugh Jackman is brilliant in almost every way. Wow. He hit both great acting and solid singing and was more than believable as the troubled yet loving Jean Valjean. His makeup and aging was very real, and he owned the character. Kudos to Jackman and Hooper for bringing Jean Valjean to life like never before.
3) YES! Javert is complex, not evil. Most productions of Les Mis get this all wrong! They portray Javert primarily as pure evil. However, the complexity of this character--one who sees the world through the lens of the law and in the black and white of right and wrong--this nuance is often destroyed by the live show. In 2012, I saw a touring version of the show in which Javert is evil and vengeful 100% of the time. That's just wrong. He's not meant to be hated, he's meant to be there as a complex anti-hero.
4) Éponine by Samantha Barks: Often in the Broadway show, the young new star with a great voice gets this role, so she soars on each song. Barks had both the emotional draw to understand her dilemma and the voice to sign it out right. Great performance.
5) Sacha Baren Cohen as Thénardier: He's over the top, but so is the character in the theatrical production. Baron Cohen is perfectly cast and lightens the film when it direly needs his comic relief, midway through this three-hour film. I thank Hooper for casting him. Jack Black and many other similar comedic actors would not have worked in this role.
6) The student revolution: During the live musical, the student revolution is part of a complex array of story lines that erupt in the second half. Often the rationale for their revolution and their loyalty to the general get lost in all the other stories. This time, it works. You can understand their goals and motives much better.
7) The Paris and countryside cinematography: There are four or five awesome moments in cinematography that explode on the big screen. For those waiting to see this on DVD, forget it--this is a big screen movie and you'll lose it in your living room. But it's fantastic in a big theater.
8) Saved by the Bishop. The storyline of the faithful and merciful Catholic Bishop changing Jean Valjean's view of the world is very important to the story. It's the turning point for the main character and often gets brushed over in the musical or you just don't believe the story. The bishop is sincere and believable in the movie. He also appears later in the film to remind you of his importance. Well played, Hooper.
9) Action scenes and editing: The opening scene totally changes our view of the "chain-gang" compared to the musical. You get how risky their work is and how truly imprisoned they are in their lives. The battle scenes are also strong as are some of the fight scenes, escape scenes, chase scenes and Javert's death--which is always a key moment.
10) The Thérnardier's Inn: This scene is important in the musical to lighten it up and give you a sense of the role of travel and Inns from that era of history. This over-the-top version of the Inn loses all believability to exaggerate the badness of the innkeepers, but it totally fits and makes you laugh and cringe at the same time.
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