Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Film review: Les Misérables

I know I am a bit late to the party when it comes to this film as it came out what feels like a lifetime ago.

However, got there eventually.

I will start by saying I love musicals, as you will probably gather from my blog and reviews from theatre musicals I have been to. I have also seen Les Mis on stage when it toured a few years ago for its anniversary. It was brilliant, but a little long and also very miserable, hence the name, but still a fantastic musical.

Based on the book by Victor Hugo I had high hopes for the film as everyone I know who saw it raved about it and seemed to cry their heart out for pretty much the whole film.

It looks like a big budget film very opulent and extravagant. Rich in sets and costumes.

All the stars in the film were said to sing live on the set rather than record their vocals and mime in the film. This I think adds the theatre musical feel to the film as you hear the tears, in Anne Hathaway's case, and frustration in the case of Russell Crowe.

All the casts' singing was amazing, brilliant voices with a lot of projection. You can tell that Russell Crowe was/is in a band as his voice was less musical and more band. Hugh Jackman has obviously cut his musical teeth in Boy from Oz many years ago and for most of the film was unrecognisable as Jean Valjean. I forgot it was him most of the time.

Anne Hathaway as the doomed and unfortunate Fantine...well she just breaks your heart. She isn't in the whole film but when she is she, you can't look at anyone else and her rendition of 'I dream a dream' beautiful. No wonder she has already won a BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe and will no doubt pick up the Oscar.

It is so rich in emotional and I love Samantha Barks as Eponine, what can I say. We can all relate to 'On my Own' and unrequited love.

Now I must admit that I don't get the whole Eddie Redmayne thing. His singing was good but I wasn't completely blown away by him and felt not that bothered what happened to him.  Same really for Cosette I love Amanda Seyfried but didn't believe her Cosette.

Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Carter as Madam Thenardier and Thenardier are comic genius. I loved the characters in the film and loved them even more in the film. A pleasant relief from all the misery.

Of course as well this film holds a little place in my heart as it was filmed in part in Portsmouth and now everyone knows someone who knows someone who was an extra in it.

The film for anyone who has not seen the musical is singing all the way through, no real talking so be prepared.

This is a great musical film but I think I prefer the theatre version.

And I cried in one part.... spoiler alert! When Eponine and Gavroche die. Teary. At the end I was upset but no tears, does this make me heartless?  

For anyone who doesn't know what it is about...

IMDB synopsis of the film says: "In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever."
"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."

Directed by Tom Hooper

I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5

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