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This movie is a truly engaging, cinematic achievement, which will
remain in hearts and minds for some time. The familiar lead characters:
Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, and Anne Hathaway do a phenomenal job in
their varied roles, providing a surprising and stimulating performance.
An integration of various whimsical/funny elements are introduced,
while offset and led by the dramatic.
While this movie IS a musical throughout, which should be known and understood to a prospective viewer, the singing becomes second to the story, which is triumphant in its portrayal.
For those who can can immerse themselves into the story, and not get distracted by the musical elements, they should find themselves caught off guard, inspired, and lifted up by this really wonderful production. It was certainly worth the time spend in viewing it and in the money paid to share in this grand experience. Based on its category, and up front understanding of Les Miserables, the whole of this movie is well deserving of its high ratings. I give it 10/10. To me, worthy score, leaving my nit-picking of small details off to the side, as they do not detract from the whole of it.
I've never been a big fan of musicals. I was recently introduced to
this story via some earlier movie versions and began reading the book.
Regardless of adaptation, the story is a great one. It is a critique of
man's ways and a story of redemption(s).
I found this adaptation to be very "human". Actors are shown with all flaws showing, and many added for the roles being played. The singing was great at times, flawed at others, but a good mix of the two. Again it was nice to keep the human aspect intact with the singing. It was easy to connect with the characters due to the visual and audible humanness about them.
I found Eddie Redmayne's performance to be one of the best - he portrayed his characters emotion on his face and in his voice - and in his eyes - nicely. I'm surprised to not hear more about his performance.
Most of all, Les Miserables is a great story! It is food for thought, a social commentary, and at the same time entertaining. If you are not familiar with it as i was until recently, i highly recommend checking it out - again, for the amazing story on it's own.
one of the best musicals i've seen...Anne Heatherway is truly amazing actress & singing I dreamed a dream made me shed some tears...her singing is beautiful & she acted the part vert well..was very impressed with the other characters as well...very surprised at Russell Crows singing...who would of thought this man could sing?! Helena Bowen carter was amazing/funny as well as Sacha Baron Cohan...laughed/cried durning this musical...I would watch this again!!!!!! also made me feel for the charters & at times had a ump in my throat as well the hairs at the back of my neck stood up! Hugh Jackman was very good as well, Incredible songs that you could sing along to!!!!!!!!! shame these actors are not on the stage! Would recommend this to anyone x
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the first time that I have actually seen this story and to put
it bluntly, it simply blew my mind, right to the point that as I am
writing this I am listening to the songs on You-Tube. The one thing
that unfortunately drags this particular movie down (and pretty much
everything else about this film is absolutely spectacular) is Sacha
Baron Cohen. Every scene in which he was in was painful (and maybe that
is still a hangover from Borat) and as far as I am concerned, he
completely butchered 'Master of the House' (though it was redeemed with
'oohh Santa!', if you have seen the film you will know what I mean).
Basically the story is about grace and how one man responds to grace. Many times I have heard pastors use this story to describe grace (and they namely refer to the scene where the bishop responds to Valjean's theft of the silverware with the statement that it was gift, and the only problem was that he left too early because he forgot to take the candle sticks). If it be only that scene that made this story stand out then that would be enough, but it goes much further because the whole theme of the story is about how Valjean responds to this act of grace in that he completely turns his life around and becomes a well respected citizen.
Still, believe it or not, there is even more. This story is almost Shakespearian in scope in that there are at least three or four plots intermeshed into the story (with the main plot being the redemption of Valjean). For instance, we have a love story, a story of self sacrifice, an exploration of the life of the peasant in early 19th century France, a failed revolution, and of course, the dogged pursuit of Valjean by his nemesis Javert.
I remember making a comment about Cohen on a facebook entry and a friend of mine responded by making a snide comment about Russell Crowe singing, and maybe that tarnished the film a bit, but after seeing it, I don't think Crowe did a bad job at all, and if fact I think he took up the challenge and succeeded with flying colours. In fact, by the end of the movie I had no problem with Russell Crowe playing a major role at all. As for Hugh 'Wolverine show us your claws' Jackman, well, we all know that he can sing and that he has starred in musicals previously, and as the main character, he was absolutely superb.
If you persevere through the opening act, you will be amply rewarded
for your patience. True, Crowe's singing does not match those around
him but the other performances are good enough that his miscasting does
not stay with you for too long.
Tom Hooper's use of close-ups gives you an intimacy that would never have been possible on stage. Anne Hathaway is a revelation. She has performed the definitive "I dream a dream" and has set the standard to which all others will now be judged. No matter how many times I listen to her rendition, I always feel a lump in my throat. Despite the short time that she is on, she steals the scenes that she's in and truly deserves an Oscar for best supporting actress role.
Hugh Jackman is superb and fits the role of Jean Valjean perfectly. In truth, excellent performances abound - Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks - to name but a few.
If there is only one film that you would see this year and even if you don't enjoy musicals, I would say that this is the one that you should see - no question.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw Les Miserables last night at a special screening with a Q and A afterward with Tom Hooper, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. This was easily the most moving film experience I have had this year. While not perfect, it is a great film. Hooper's concept of having the actor's sing their parts live on works brilliantly, and gives his actors a freedom to emote that stage performers don't often have. Most of the stars use that to the fullest. What results are some of the finest performances of these roles I have seen. There has been criticism of the singing, and it is true that none of the principal actors has a voice to match some of the classic performances of this show (Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop excepted). But there is a difference between singing a musical and performing it on screen, and Hooper has gone with actors who could perform as well as sing. If you are looking for a re-staging of the Broadway show on film, then you are definitely looking in the wrong place. But if you are looking for performances that can move you with raw emotion, then you should see this film, even if you don't like musicals. Anne Hathaway may not have the voice of a Patti Lupone or Randy Graff, but she gives the finest performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" that I have ever heard. Hugh Jackman is as good as Val Jean. Less than perfect are Sasha Baron Cohnen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers. Where they should have been fun, they ended up as creepy. Also, Samantha Barks, who has the best voice of the female cast, just doesn't quite bring the pain as Eponine. Finally, I have never liked the character Cosette until now, a tribute to some slight changes in the show, but mostly to Amanda Seyfried. Overall this is an amazing film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying that this movie is an amazing piece of art. It
had me shedding tears, i really cried when the movie had ended. I am a
really big fan of musical and dramas, and i was not disappointed AT
ALL. This movie is worth the money, it's worth the time. I must say
though, that those who do not like musicals or music should stay away
from this one, as there's music through the whole damn movie. That's
right, there's almost no dialogue. However, it works very well even
though there are only a few lines of dialogues in the whole movie.
Musical lovers should absolutely watch this, and especially if you
liked the original staged Les Miserables musical on theatre.
So, let's get on with my review. I warn you, this has spoilers. Watch the movie first if you don't want spoilers.
Les Miserables is a wonderful story about a man named Jean Valjean, who once stole a piece of bread to save one of his family members because they were starving. For that, he got 5 years in prison. However, Jean Valjean escaped before his prison time was done, so he got another 10 years for that. He gets released and meets a priest at a church, treating Jean like his own brother, giving him shelter for the night and food to eat. Jean steals silver, and the police caught him, takes him back to the priest. But the priest asked them to release him, and told them he gave Jean the silver. But he had one condition, that he may use it only for good and for God.
Years later Jean has broken his parole. He disappeared, he got a nice makeover and changed his name. He is now the mayor of the town and owns a factory. There works a woman called Fantine. She has a child and her husband left them empty handed. Her child now lives with an mean inkeeper.
The colleges fight with Fantine about a secret letter, and the foreman catches them. Therefore Fantine gets left out on the street with no job at all, begging for mercy. What the mayor doesn't know...
She is desperate for money to her child, so she sells her hair, two of her teeth, and lets a man have his way with her. She doesn't get much, though. One of the men in town gets on to her and tries to touch her, resulting in Fantine slapping him blooded. He then makes up a fake story for the police, and of course have evidence on his face.
The Mayor (Jean) the appears and asks what happened. He overheard that she had a sick child and begged the guards to let her go. The mayor then found out what his company did to her, so he swore to help her. He took her to a hospital. But unfortunately, she later dies. On her deathbed, Jean promised Fantine that he would take care of her child.
This is where it gets interesting, Sacha Baron Cohen is one of the inkeepers. It all breaks out in a very funny musical number and he does it all very well (although, he isn't really a singer). Jean finds the child, called Cosette. And gives the inkeepers 1500 franc for giving her to him. The funny thing is Sacha always mispronounce Cosette's name, like Colette or Chasette.
Javert (the towns police) have found out who the mayor really is, Jean Valjean, who break his parole. Which is a very serious crime, so he is now chasing after him. That's why Jean has to hide with the girl. He goes to a church seeking for help. He got a place to live with Cosette.
Years later, when Cosette has grown up, the french revolution is about to start. A young man called Marius, falls in love when he sees Cosette. But he can't really be with her because he has to stick with his group of friends who all is for the French revolution. He sends one last letter, before he may die, to Cosette and Jean sees it. He realises he has to help him, because it's her only and true love.
This is a really beautiful movie and musical, it's all put together well, together with amazing performances from Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried with beautiful voices and amazing emotions that makes you feel the characters emotions and situations. It is all beautifully put together with great cinemotagraphy and amazing songs(49!!!). The movie is 2 and a half hours, and i gotta say i enjoyed every minute of them. I've watched it like 5 times now, and i'm planning to see it many more times. It's just an amazing movie. Cheers to the director and the amazing actors in this movie who played it off really well.
What can i say more? Watch it yourself, judge it yourselves. You won't be disappointed. It's a wonderful but sad story taking place in France when the time where hardest and when the french revolution took place. So, my final score for this movie is 9 out of 10. It's really that great, and i'm wondering why this hasn't got more than just a 7,4 out of 10? I think it deserves an 8! I haven't seen ANY movie on IMDb that has a 10, the highest i've seen being 9,3.
Watch it, enjoy it, feel it. Cry. Laugh. Enjoy the music. You won't be sorry you did!
Speaking as somebody who has yet to see the stage version, this was
When I first heard that the entire thing was in song I was a little anxious about whether or not I would enjoy it as musicals are not really my scene. But my god this film was incredible.
It has action, romance and an incredible story that kept me gripped right up until the last minute with twist and turns and one or two things I really didn't see coming.
The songs themselves are brilliant and convey the story beautifully and the original song 'Suddenly' sounds like it was apart of the original soundtrack.
Hugh Jackman does a brilliant job as Valjean and even though Anne Hathaway is only on screen for about 20 minutes, she really steals the show. Russell Crowe is a bit shaky at times but most of the time he absolutely nails it.
The comedic element comes from Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonhem Carter. I was laughing all the way through their scenes and their antics really break up the dark and sad areas of the movie.
This film really tugs at the heartstrings and I was thinking about it for days afterwards about the characters and their fates. As I write this review I am listening to the soundtrack and preparing for my second viewing of the film.
Even if you are not a musical fan, go and see this film. It deserves all the praise and awards it gets.
I've been a long time fan of Les Mis, and as an avid film fan, I was
obviously quite excited to see how such a long, powerful stage show
could be appropriately transferred onto screen. I had been following
the production of the film for the whole year, but it wasn't until I
was finally sitting in the cinema that I realized this film was a
First off, let me just say that the stage musical is longer (although it does have an intermission) and some argue that it is difficult to understand if you are not familiar with the plot. This film HAD to make some song cuts and some changes to make it shorter and more understandable. Director Tom Hooper had millions of Les Mis fans watching his every move, so naturally he would disappoint some people with practically every decision he made. The acting too, was superb. I cannot think of one actor in the film that wasn't good enough; even down to the last chorus role, everyone was great. The gutsy decision to encourage acting over singing has really paid off. The live singing would have gone to WASTE if they were going for a polished version. You can feel the pain of each of the characters. Standouts include Hathaway, Barks and Redmayne. I was not disappointed with any singing either. Even Crowe, with whom I had my doubts, had a wonderful husky voice to fit a husky character.
The camera angles have turned some off, but personally, I hardly noticed them making a difference. I loved the camera-work in the King's Speech, and it works just as well here. The closeup shots have gained plenty of criticism, and I might say that this too is where I had some issues. I reckon the closeup shots worked wonders for the heart-wrenching solos, but for other times it felt a little awkward. Although I do understand Hooper's reasoning in shoving the poor living conditions in the viewer's face. The cinematography was great at the right moments, but at times I felt that the set could have been more spectacular. So much action happened in one set in the second half of the film, and I feel that if we saw more it would have added a dimension. The sets they did use however were terrific to the last spot.
The new song and leitmotifs added work wanders to give the film an essence of something new for avid fans. I would admit it would have been upsetting if it was just the EXACT same as the stage show, because it has been seen so many times by so many people that they may have felt on familiar ground in the cinema.
In the end, all I can say is that the film is a masterpiece of modern cinema, and will certainly go down as one of the classics of musical film. While it may not come to win too many awards due to strong competition in cinema this year, it must certainly not go down unrecognized; and word-of-mouth, as I have seen in it's two days since the release, will bring it further than awards ever could. Tom Hooper has done a fine, innovative job in adapting this loved musical. Under the wrong vision, Les Mis could have turned out much much much worse.
Just to warn people, there are two big criticisms you really shouldn't
let bother you: 1.) It's not Broadway, because it's a movie. No matter
what, it was never going to be the same thing as a good stage
production of Les Miserables anyway. 2.) No movie should be expected to
be completely faithful to a book. If somebody paints a painting about
something, and later, somebody writes a song about the exact same
thing, people don't expect the lyrics of the song to perfectly explain
the painting, but this movie is fair and true enough to the original
Victor Hugo novel and story. In the case of the original Les
Miserables, Victor Hugo's novel from the 1800s is 1,900 pages long and
it wasn't a musical anyway. You couldn't fit all of a book that size
into 5 movies, but this movie is true enough to the original story.
Plus it fits in almost all of the original Broadway production music.
That being said, I'm not really a big fan of musicals, in fact I tend to not like them, Oklahoma-boring, South Pacific-who cares. About the only musicals I ever really liked include Pink Floyd The Wall and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
But this movie is excellent, as in everybody-in-the-theater-claps-at-the-end excellent.
It's basically not done in song and dance style. Characters are moving around and in action the whole time. There is some spoken dialogue, but it is done very much in the style of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a movie in which 100% of the dialogue is sung. These are basically the only two musicals of this type of style or technique. In The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, you quickly don't notice they are singing at all anymore, and you go through the whole movie as if you are just listening to people talking or arguing, but in this Les Miserables, sometimes you don't notice that they are singing, while other times, well, they are definitely belting it out, but still within the flow of dialogue, and the action of the movie keeps going. They don't interrupt the action to stop and do a big tap dance and singing number or anything like that. In fact, you don't even notice when they are going from straight spoken dialogue and back to singing, sometimes even mid-sentence, and sometimes a character is replying to singing with spoken dialogue, as the two get mixed right in together perfectly.
It you just want the Les Miserables story in a movie but without the music, then watch the 1997 version directed by Bille August, as that is a really good movie. (And includes stars Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, Claire Danes and Geoffrey Rush.)
But remember, the musical Les Miserables has been more to the stage than what movies like The Godfather or even Casablanca ever were to the silver screen. It's number one, with more people having seen a stage production of Les Miserables than Annie, Cats, South Pacific, The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Rent, Miss Saigon, Evita, or anything else, and there is a reason for that and that reason is basically the music. Along with the story of course, but its music is really just that powerful.
You could just watch a recording of some NYC or London stage production of Les Miserables on DVD. There are plenty of those, including ones that are hardly even stage productions but rather more so just opera singers on stage taking turns singing the music. But you aren't going to get a movie type story experience out of those. Just the same, no matter how well done, a good Broadway quality stage performance of Les Miserables is going to be 5 times better than even a perfect Les Miserables musical movie.
This movie is produced like a movie and not as the filming of a stage production.
A movie movie, as we expect it, sets its scenes wherever they need to be. When a character is hiking over the top of a mountain, they are actually there filming on the top of a mountain. That is how this movie usually is. When they are out on the streets of Paris, they are out on the streets of Paris. It's a movie. And it's the story well told. And it's the music. All in one.
Putting all of those things together in one Les Miserables movie, well it's hard to imagine anybody doing it much better or even trying to. A few imperfections or weaknesses are there, but not enough for anybody to try to outdo it anytime soon. Some of the outdoor scenes could have been shot on a location in some French city or town, rather than having buildings or skylines look so much like stage sets or computer generated images. Next to none of the waterfront scenes looked like they were just shot on an actual location, with all sorts of ships and things looking like stage sets or computer generations. Some of the actors could have cut their cockney stage accents for just straight modern English occasionally touched with French accents or pronunciations as needed. (After all, they already weren't shooting in French, so why bother with any fake old timey stage accents that only make characters that much harder to understand?) They could have taken a page from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and seriously stuck to realism and naturalism, rather than appearing as stage performers performing on a stage so much. There were some mighty wobbly cameras in a few scenes.
Even if you are not big fan of Victor Hugo or of musicals, this should still be enough of an action and adventure movie to keep you well entertained. It's long, but that was something unavoidable in order to fit in both enough of the story and the music.
Overall, it's excellent. A rare 9 out of 10 stars for me.
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