Okay so now we have Les Misérables, a musical. Now I’m gonna level with you guys, I’m not really into musicals. Besides animated Disney films from the late 90s onwards and the 1997 live-action version of Cinderella I don’t really care for them as a genre of film. So when I saw the trailer for this film I was like “Damn, I dunno if I could handle all that singing yo.” But for the sake of Hugh Jackman and all the good reviews I heard about it, I decided to give Les Misérables a chance. So was it good film that hit all the right notes or was it out of pitch? Read on and find out my opinion.
So the story of Les Misérables tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who becomes mayor of a town in France. Soon exposed, Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of the dying Fantine, but as a fugitive must also avoid being captured again by police inspector Javert. While the film is mainly Jaen Valjean’s story, you also have Javert, Fantine, Cosette and Marius too, and I found it interesting to see how all of these individual stories converge and intersect with each other. Of the stories in the film I really liked Jean Valjean and Fantine because they were the most dramatic and interesting for me, though if I had to mention one other it’d be Javert. I also really liked the themes of love, grief, redemption and getting second chances.
As for the characters of Les Misérables they’re all pretty good. So let’s start with Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, he was awesome. I knew Jackman was gonna be great in this role but he really did do great as this man on a road of redemption and change after 19 years of imprisonment. His life is a constant battle with his years in prison, then going on the run from the law and then having to take care of Cosette too, he’s got a lot on his plate and you can appreciate how he tries to turn his life around. I loved Valjean’s story, I found it to be the most engaging and interesting of all of the characters in the film. I also find it incredible to see the visual transformation that Valjean goes through over the course of the film, with all three stages of his life looking very distinctive and believable.
Russell Crowe stars as Javert was actually really awesome, though probably not for all the right reasons. Javert is this police inspector who’s proper got it out Valjean and wants to put him back in, Javert is very determined and I’ll give him that but he is a bit of prick though. Crowe plays the role well but when it comes to his singing, damn, let’s just say when compared to everyone else he doesn’t hold up so well. But some of the scenes he’s in just become funny and I found myself enjoying Crowe’s performance a lot just for the fact that it made me laugh (I know that’s bad, but hey that’s life lol).
Anne Hathaway was a really big surprise as Fantine. To be honest I’ve never really been keen on Hathaway as an actress until Chris Nolan showed me she can be awesome in The Dark Knight Rises and this is probably the best performance of her career yo. Fantine is a struggling factory worker and mother of an illegitimate child, Cosette, who is then kept by the Thénardiers. I never knew her story was going to be so integral to some of the other characters in this film, Fantine’s story is just tragic, painful and sad and Hathaway handles the role very well and her singing skills were impressive which surprised me greatly.
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette was nice. Seyfried had a nice singing voice and her character was interesting as she grew up hidden away from the world because of Valjean constantly having to be on the move to elude the authorities. Cosette was the only character who was innocent and free of all the drama going on around her besides of course when she gets the hots for Marius. But to be honest I wasn’t really keen on Cosette once her character started to develop feelings for Marius, I felt it really was just out of the blue and when those guys were lovey-dovey I couldn’t care for it. Now I’m not against love stories, I love them when they’re believable and done right, but this one seemed to materialize out of a glance and a stare. Oh and I also wanted to give a shout out to Isabelle Allen who plays the young Cosette, she was very good and for some reason I preferred this version of the character to the older one.
Eddie Redmayne was very good as Marius Pontmercy. I was watching him closely because he was one of the first actors in running for the role of Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy and luckily in this film he was pretty good. He also has a good singing voice which I didn’t expect to be so deep too. I thought Marius had an interesting story as revolutionary, but his love story with Cosette just takes I didn’t really care for. I feel after that point his character became unfocused, I mean I can understand he has an infatuation with Cosette, but how can be so blind to Éponine’s feelings and not pay attention to his revolutionary buddies when they need him the most. I just didn’t like that about his character.
One of the best performances came from Samantha Barks as Éponine. For her film debut I thought she was lovely, Éponine story starts out alright as the Thénardiers’ destitute daughter, but eventually when she grows up many things change and her story becomes so sad, dramatic and you can really relate to her character. It is some truly heart-breaking stuff and I thought Barks’ performance was grand.
As for Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the Thénardiers who are these swindling innkeepers I didn’t like them very much. They were just annoying and by their final appearance the film I just wanted them to disappear. I expecting a lot better from these two especially Helena Bonham Carter who is one of my favourite actresses, in this film both Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen just act like clownish, cartoon-like characters who have some partially funny scenes but are ultimately forgettable when compared to the rest of the cast.
The presentation of the film is very powerful both musically and visually. The visuals are pretty damn impressive with the amazing locations and sets and the use of special effects too. Musically the soundtrack is really good with a great presence from start to finish; some of these songs are big, loud productions that really amplify the atmosphere and the scenes they’re used in. Those are normally the massive group songs that are song by many people and it is those ones in particular that I enjoyed the most. While the softer more delicate songs lend themselves well to scenes involving single characters or couples. Even though I’ve never really watched the play of this film, I did recognize some of the songs and at certain points in the film I even found myself enjoying the music quite a lot.
In conclusion was pretty good film and wasn’t nearly as unbearable as I thought it would be. There is some great performance to be found from the cast, the visual flair of the film is definitely elaborate and grand, and the music is very enjoyable too. As a person who usually isn’t into musicals I found myself enjoying this one quite a bit surprisingly. While the film is a little on the long side I’d still recommend it!
Well there’s my review people, damn that’s the longest one for a while now haha. So what did you think Les Misérables? Whatever your thoughts drop them below in the comments section and I’ll see ya on the next review!