Les Misérables: A Classic Come to Life

Les Misérables
Les Misérables

Grab the nearest box of tissues before you head out to see Les Misérables in theaters, because let me tell you, you will definitely need it.  Just as some celebrities become so popular and successful that they come to be known only by their first names, this is known everywhere by its abbreviation: Les-mis, and it's enjoyed astronomical global success on stage since 1985.

Les Misérables tells the story of Valjean (Jackman), a proud and decent man imprisoned for stealing bread to save his sister's family from starving. Once released, he is viciously pursued by police officer Javert (Crowe) for breaking the terms of his parole, but makes a impressive career leap into respectability, becoming a mayor and factory owner. His path crosses that of his poor employee Fantine (Anne Hathaway) whose grownup daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) is to fall fatefully in love with revolutionary firebrand Marius (Eddie Redmayne) just as Paris erupts in violence, and as Valjean must make his final reckoning with Javert.

In addition, one of the aspects of this film that sets it apart from quite a few other musicals, especially in this modern day and age, is that fact that director Tom Hooper decided that all of the songs would be recorded live, rather than lip sung during filming and added in post-production, which has remained at the center of controversy in regards to its affectivity in the finished product.

All in all I think that while most of the film was astounding at capturing the emotion and the story of see Les Misérables, there were some discrepancies that made the movie a bit jarring. Some of the actor close-ups, while very effective, were a bit off-putting as they didn’t seem to portray the characters the way I had pictured them for most of my life. In addition I felt that some of the actors, especially Jackman, really nailed their songs and evoked a lot of emotion, while others seemed to go through the motions.

All in all this movie was a wonderful experience and I strongly suggest that you take the time to view this amazing movie before it leaves theaters. If you cannot make it out I strongly suggest Redbox or your local video store!

Check out our analysis of Black Swan and our review of The Hobbit!