Audiences rejoice! There is finally a Les Miserables movie! Alright, so personally I haven’t been waiting a long time, just a year max. I mostly was excited about the cast! I like musicals, but never really heard the music in this one. I did give the 25th Anniversary soundtrack a listen a few times, just to be familiar with the songs, but I had no idea what was happening plot wise.
But apparently Hugh Jackman gets to sport a killer beard.
The plot? It is anything but simple. The main plot line is about Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), Prisoner 24601, getting paroled after 19 years in a post revolution France. What did he do? Stole a bit of bread. Sucks. Either way, he breaks the parole after turning his life around for God, hoping to be a better man. But breaking the parole is a another crime, meaning he must be on the run his whole life from Officer Javert (Russell Crowe) who follows the law to the letter, regardless of circumstances.
There are however many more plotlines, including the fall of a factory worker, Fantine (Anne Hathaway), into prostitution, in order to provide money for her daughter Cosette (eventually Amanda Seyfried). Well, Jean Valjean agrees to look after the daughter, but has to remain on the run. Eventually it is the 1832 Paris Uprising, which adds in a love story between Cosette, Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a freedom fighter, and Eponine (Samantha Barks). Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter provide comic relief as innkeepers/beggers, and Aaron Tveit as the leader of the student revolution.
Eddie Redmayne. Turns out he has a decent singing voice, despite not even knowing who the heck he was before this movie.
Alright, so I rushed through the plot to talk about the actual movie. Interestingly enough, the music in the movie was not done off set with the actors miming like most musicals, but sung during the shoots and recorded that way. You know, like an actual theatrical musical! It really gave the film a bit more of a raw emotional feel to it. What was more impressive in that department when they had really really long shots, so you knew that they just sang the entire song in one go. When Hathaway dreamed that dream, I cried due to the shear emotion in that song and scene.
A lot of bad talk has been given to Russell Crowe, who is obviously not a Broadway caliber singer, but I thought his unpolished voice brought a lot of personality into his role, and he felt a bit more real because of it.
But this was Jackman’s movie to win or lose, and he put on quite a performance, that sly dog. From the bearded warrior, to a mayor, to a runaway, to a freedom fighter, he is everywhere, and his performance was phenomenal.
If I had one major complaint, it would be that the ending felt a little bit hokey to me. Just a bit, still made me cry though.