Les Miserables Review
As a self-proclaimed “Les Misérables” buff, I have been anxiously awaiting this movie with bated breath for months.
“Les Misérables” is a story that has defied the ages and is able to beautifully relate to all who listen. The message and foundation of love it’s built upon has the power to produce success wherever it goes. The same is true for the latest film adaptation.
This was undoubtedly Hugh Jackman’s show. His portrayal of Jean Valjean was heartbreakingly real. The dynamic between him and other actors brought this film to life. Anne Hathaway shone as the desperate Fantine. Her singing and acting was unbelievable as was her portrayal of the broken prostitute. Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” will leave you both astounded and moved.
Russell Crowe creates a much more subdued Javert than fans of “Les Misérables” are used to seeing. This is initially extremely offsetting, yet midway through the movie, I found his quiet intensity beginning to grow on me, and I appreciated the discipline and strength he brought to the character.
Although Crowe was more than able to portray Javert well enough, the same cannot be said for his musical ability. The smaller songs proved to be alright, but when Javert’s important pledge and plea to the Lord in “Stars” occurred, it was all I could do not to grimace and plug my ears.
As the story develops into the passion of the revolution, actors Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Aaron Tveit (Enjolras) and Samantha Barks (Eponine) shone brilliantly.
The same could not be said of Amanda Seyfried, who plays Cosette. Seyfried’s character is the beacon of hope and light in this story, which she adequately portrays. However, her voice definitely was not able to stand up against stars such as Tveit, Barks and Redmayne, therefore severely diminishing the music.
The ever-present comic relief of the Thénardiers was successful. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were appropriately disgusting and hilarious as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier. Also, a shout-out to Colm Wilkinson — the first stage Jean Valjean — who plays the Bishop of Digne in this film. He remains fabulous as always.
When on stage, the only emotion that can accessibly be portrayed is that of exaggerated moments and broadcasted voices. The close-ups in this film allowed connections to form between the audience and the characters, which have been somewhat lacking in the stage adaptations. It also allowed true emotion to develop, and in some instances saved the story when the important singing fell short. Furthermore, director Tom Hooper rocketed this production to the next level by allowing live singing and in turn creating live emotion.
On stage there is a hindrance with the liberties and imagination necessary to portray the story simply because of physical limits. There is only so much that can be done in a single location such as a theater. This film defies all of these restrictions majestically through the intense sets. There is an extreme authenticity prevalent throughout the entire movie. Small details such as the progression of the actors’ appearances in their teeth, hair and skin further the depth of the story.
This film is a success. There were certainly changes that could have been made or features that should have been omitted, but overall, the film succeeds. The emotion and passion that is “Les Misérables” bursts throughout the entire production and will leave you wanting more.
Short URL: http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/?p=2581794