Fight. Dream. Hope. Love.
Running Time: 157 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United Kingdom
It would take a man of real talent to mess up an adaptation of everyone’s favourite musical Les Misérables. There’s the epic multi-stranded plot, the rousing sing-alongs and the memorable characters that make it the only musical that I actually like my from the bottom of my heart. Luckily, Tom Hooper is not that man as Les Misérables sails effortlessly onto the big screen and will leave you with a lump in your throat.
Les Mis follows convict-turned-respectable businessman Jean Valjean (Jackman) as he spends 20 years escaping from ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) and reinventing himself in 18th century France. He adopts the daughter (Allen/Seyfried) of a dead prostitute (Hathaway) and ends up in Paris on the barricades of an attempted revolution.
The movie is unwaveringly true to the spirit of the stage show and importantly, Tom Hooper hasn’t tried to overreach himself. The lavish sets look impressive in the period detail and frame the scenes with the action occasionally breaking out of its shackles. Unlike many recent adaptations of classic novels or shows, he’s resisted adding huge out-of-place battles and new songs and peripheral characters who speak to today’s kidz.
In terms of performances, Anne Hathaway is so entrancingly intense that she must’ve had her favourite handbag puppy strangled off screen to get the emotions running to such a disturbing level for her short stint on camera – she is immense though. Gladiator and Wolverine at times fail to keep up with their esteemed musical company but because of they act and look the part they never seem to be miscast. Fortunately, Sasha Baron Cohen and Helen Bonham Carter double barrel up the laughs and give some light-hearted respite as there is something about the cinema which makes it less bareable to sit watching an endless merry-go-round of highly emotional close up singing solos than it would be at the theatre. In the end though, there are enough rousing sing-a-longs to keep it enjoyable for the main part.
It's Got: Great performances all round but especially by Anne Hathaway, same great songs, a simple but stylish adaptation
It Needs: Maybe just a bit of it to be cut towards the end as you can only have so many close up angsty solos
Alternatives:Moulin Rouge, The Count of Monte Cristo, War Horse
Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the hit stage play is seemless and Anne Hathaway and company deserve the awards they’ll get.