Monday, March 18, 2013

Les Misérables (2012)

Directed by: Tom Hooper
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, & Amanda Seyfried
Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence, and thematic elements

If you haven't heard of Les Mis, you must live under a rock. This movie has been preached by fans ever since they announced they were making another film (there's another Les Mis movie from 1998 starring Liam Neeson). The fact that it earned Golden Globe nominations BEFORE it even hit theaters tells you it must be amazing, and indeed friends, it is.

The basic plot line: "Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, 'Les Miserables' travels with prisoner-on-parole, 24601, Jean Valjean [pronounced John Val-john], as he runs from the ruthless Inspector Javert [Jah-ver] on a journey beyond the barricades, at the center of the June Rebellion. Meanwhile, the life of a working class girl [Fantine] with a child is at turning point as she turns to prostitution to pay money to the evil innkeeper and his wife [the Thernandiers] who look after her child, Cosette. Valjean promises to take care of the child, eventually leads to a love triangle between Cosette, Marius, who is a student of the rebellion, and Eponine, a girl of the streets. The people sing of their anger and Enjolras leads the students to fight upon the barricades." (from Internet Movie Database)

This movie was downright amazing. Visually, it was beautiful and unbelievable. But let's focus on the acting. Hugh Jackman completely earned his Oscar nomination. I need to see Lincoln before I can say whether he deserved the statue more than Daniel Day Lewis, but I have a hunch that he did. He was flawless as Valjean and his singing was superb. Russell Crowe was probably my favorite character throughout the entire movie. Although he is often considered the villain, he's a loyal man of the law who is only fulfilling his duties. And Crowe can effing sing!! I've heard his performances with his band, but hearing him do full blown Broadway was wonderful.

 Anne Hathaway earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Fantine, the tortured single mother. While she did amazingly well, I can't help but think that she didn't have enough screen time nor character development to truly deserve it. However, I can't say for sure until I watch the other nominated ladies' films. Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Samantha Barks (Eponine), and Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) were perfect in their roles. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are reunited as the Thernandiers, the conning innkeepers that are the film's much needed comic relief.

 Now, if you are an adamant hater of musicals, you'll probably want to skip Les Mis: it's about 90 percent singing. But if you love musicals, have at it. All the singing was done LIVE--as in, sung while they were shooting, in frame, as opposed to mouthing along to a recording--AMAZING.

 I loved this film. Will I buy it? Probably not. Why? I can't imagine myself saying, "Hmm, I really really want to watch Les Mis right now." However, it's a great film that everyone should see at least once. I only had one beef with it, and it was the fact that if a Hollywood flick is set in France, everyone (and I mean everyone) has a British accent. Ugh.

 Overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars! Now, go rent it!!

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