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Movie Review: Les Misérables (2012 Film)

January 20, 2013

WARNING: Spoilers present in the review. While I won’t be recapping the entire film, bits and pieces of the film will be talked about in the review. Please read at your own risk.

The second movie adaptation of the famous musical/novel, Les Misérables is a film that takes place in France during the early 1800s focusing on the struggles of various people, but mainly focuses on Jean Valjean, who is attempting to make a new life for himself after running away from parole, while trying to redeem himself in the eyes of god. Unlike the previous film, this film is (for the most part) entirely a musical. The film is directed by the same director as “The King’s Speech”, Tom Hooper.

Cinematography/Set Design: This movie is beautiful. Honestly, kudos to whoever was doing the Cinematography in this movie. The camera quality is about/if not better than the Lord of the Rings films, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful looking movies ever. This is back up by beautiful looking sets. The opening scene with the convicts moving the boat and the water splashing upon them looked incredible. If this movie does not win any awards in Cinematography or Set Design, I will be shocked. Seriously, kudos to everyone who put work into this.

Music: Obviously this makes or breaks this film. If it didn’t sound good, and if the singing was horrible, this movie would fall flat on its face. Thankfully, this isn’t the case. In fact, I’d say the music, both instrumental and the singing, blew my expectations out of the water. I’ll go more into the singing in the Cast section, seeing as most of the movie’s dialogue is done in song, but this film definitely has a phenomenal soundtrack.

Cast: Good god, when they said this movie had an all star cast, they were not lying. I was already a fan of one or two of the actors in this film, so I had a feeling the acting would be fine. But man, I was blown away by each and every cast member’s performance in this film. Hugh Jackman does a fantastic job as Valjean, and there were countless scenes with him that I could quote/say were my favorite. Anne Hathaway also did a wonderful job in this movie as Fantine, and (although I understand why) I wish she had been in the movie a little bit longer. It’s a shame her character had died so early in the film, although it was fantastic to see her again at the end (not going to lie, tears were shed. I’m man enough to admit it.) Russell Crowe did a incredible performance as Javert, the villain of the story. I will admit, although he did a great job making me hate the character, there were times (specifically during the final scenes with the character) where I felt he could have maybe started redeeming himself, but alas, that was not the case. The cast members who stole the show for me though? Hands down Samantha Barks (who played Eponine) and Daniel Huttlestone (who played Gavroche). Especially Daniel Huttlestone. They made not have had the largest roles in the movie, but damn, did their performances leave an impact on me (as well as their final scenes…) I honestly can’t name a single actor I didn’t care for. This cast was perfect.

Story: The story is split into three parts. The prologue that focuses on Valjean getting parole, the second part that sets up Valjean trying to blend in as a factory owner, while introducing Fantine (as well as her daughter in a later scene), and finally the main portion of the film, where Valjean has raised Fantine’s daughter for a few years, and revolutionaries are attempting to change the government to assist the poor. The film’s various plot lines are each very touching, and many of these characters’ conclusions will break your heart. I swear, the ending had me in tears (Hey, I’m man enough to say it. Go ahead in laugh, whatever.)

Final Verdict: This is a fantastic movie. Even as someone who doesn’t see musical films/musicals often, I loved it. The cast was great, the cinematography was incredible, and the music and singing were fantastic. I can not recommend enough that you see this movie when you get a chance. I suppose the only people I wouldn’t recommend this movie for are those who are not fans of musicals, but even then I highly suggest you give this film a shot anyway. This film is near perfect, and I loved every second of it.

I give Les Misérables a 5/5. Go see it if you haven’t had a chance yet, it’s a great ride from start to finish. Bravo!

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