What is there to say about Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s “Les Misérables,” that hasn’t already been said?
Not much, but I’ll try my best. First off, I’ll assume that you either know the story, or you probably don’t care. So, I’ll just jump right into the review portion.
This highly anticipated musical film had a lot to prove. It’s biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage—it’s beloved, by millions.
After the release of its first trailer expectations sky rocketed, and against all odds, the film does not disappoint, for the most part.
Sweeping shots combined with intimate closeups, help to transfer the musical pretty seamlessly from stage to screen. Good decisions were made with cut songs and a few rearrangements to the book.
The moments when they get it right are phenomenal. The building of the barricade, is more than it has ever or could ever be on stage. When Anne Hathaway sings almost the entirety of “I Dreamed a Dream,” in a single shot close-up, it’s astonishing. And the scale of the finale is overwhelmingly powerful.
However, the strong scenes make the lesser scenes stand out like a sore thumb. Hugh Jackman shouting “Bring Him Home,” to a sleeping Marius, was an odd choice. It’s a quiet song on stage, why should it be shouted when there’s a whole sound editing team available to adjust the volume.
For the record, Jackman gives an impressive, transformative performance as Valjean. His singing isn’t always pretty, but it matches the part and the emotions of the scene. He’s fearless and inspiring throughout the film, and if Daniel Day-Lewis wasn’t nominated he’d be bringing home an Oscar this Sunday. But I still wanted to shush him during “Bring Him Home.”
The rest of the cast is also phenomenal. As previously mentioned, Anne Hathaway is astonishing as Fantine. It’s a small but important part, and she nails it.
Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne, as the love-struck young couple of Cosette and Marius, are precious. Redmayne manages to pull off the love-sick student revolutionary without making the audience sick (Marius has never been my favorite part).
In the end, this films weaker moments are just blips. The film as a whole is an instant classic. Despite a star-studded cast and with it, the strong possibility of failure, Hooper has created a cinematic classic. “Les Misérables,” reminds us of what movie musicals can be.
…just for fun: