Tuesday night Summer and I traveled to Tampa to see a media preview of Les Miserables. I LOVE musical theater but Les Mis is a show I have never seen and was only slightly familiar with the music. When I saw a trailer for the movie a few months ago, I knew I would be going to see it and after experiencing it earlier this week, I will go and see it again.
About the Film
Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed by The King’s Speech’s Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale. With international superstars and beloved songs—including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” and “On My Own”—Les Misérables, the show of shows, is now reborn as the cinematic musical experience of a lifetime.
When I left the theater all I could say was, “Wow!” There is so much to this film that I needed to process it so that I could attempt to share my thoughts with you. As a whole Les Miserables is an epic movie worthy of every accolade and award nomination it is garnering. Since I have not read the book or seen the stage play I came to the theatre with no preconceived notions of what to expect and I was blown away.
The score is often intense and is the core of this musical. The movie actually includes an additional song that director Tom Hooper commissioned for Hugh Jackman to sing about his love for Cosette, his adopted daughter. the song fits seamlessly with the rest of the score and I didn’t even know there was a new song until researching for this review. Hugh Jackman is magnificent as the tortured soul, Jean Valjean. The emotion he brings to this role and these songs is palpable. Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Fantine is raw and transparent and deeper than anything I’ve ever seen her do. Russell Crowe as Javert is very good but in all honesty, his vocals just aren’t up to par with the rest of the cast, that doesn’t make it bad-the rest of the cast is just that good! I could go on and on about the powerful and heart wrenching performances by Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Isabelle Allen, they are all amazing in their roles. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are the only comic relief as the Thenardiers.
I believe the major thing that allowed the cast to be so magnificent is how this movie was filmed. Almost all movie musical cast go into a studio and record the soundtrack in advance of filming the movie then they lip sync to the track during the filming. That would never work with Les Miserables because there is little dialog between the songs and you would miss a lot of spontaneous emotion that happens during filming. Watch this clip about how the movie was filmed.
This movie is rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements. I tend to be more strict than the motion picture rating people but personally, I wouldn’t have taken my kids before they were 16. This film includes scenes of prostitutes, death, and violence. My 18yo enjoyed the movie but thought there was too much singing 🙂 The movie is 157 minutes (2 hours 37 minutes) long. Les Miserables hits theatres Christmas Day.
Disclosure: I was invited to a media screening of the movie by Grace Hill Media. All opinions are 100% mine.