Les Miserables is a movie-musical starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and a host of other stars supporting smaller roles like Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. They all have surprisingly solid vocal skills and ranges, and as I write this review I’m listening to the official soundtrack.
Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a past felon who tears up his parol papers in the eyes of God, and becomes a better man, escaping his past identity… for a while. On the flip side, Javert portrayed by Russell Crowe, refuses to let this escapee get the better of him, and hunts the lost Jean Valjean tirelessly. Anne Hathaway plays Fantine, which I believe was a beverage at some point? But now Fantine is a poor mom turned prostitute turned dead. But my God, Anne Hathaway does the job well, as far as dead prostitute mothers go. Her handful of songs brought me close to tears, and are definitely some of the strongest points in the movie. And it’s always good to have strong points in a movie, especially one that’s three hours long.
Part of me wants to say it was just too damn long, but when I think about the bits I would’ve cut… none come to mind. Maybe three hour movies just aren’t my thing. The acting from everyone was solid throughout, the singing fantastic, the set pieces memorable… but the balance between that and how numb your legs are after getting up from the theatre seats almost cancel eachother out.
One important thing before I wrap up my review is to mention how awesome Samantha Barks was. From reality TV show to here is impressive enough, but seeing her knock the roll of Eponine out of the park is just astounding. As much as I loved Russell Crowe, he’s established, whereas Samantha just came out of nowhere. So claps for Bark and her emotional performance, easily the most memorable out of them all.
Do I recommend you go see Les Miserables? If you’re feeling artsy, go see it. If you’re feeling Glee-ey, go see it. If you want a gritty cinematic representation of Les Mis (the book), don’t see it. I personally loved it, going in completely blind with no background info on it whatsoever, other than that Anne Hathaway was in it. And although a little tired at the end of the three hours, I fully admit the music alone was worth it.