True fans of the stage production of Les Misérables will applaud Tom Hooper’s adaptation as an extravagant masterpiece, but less enthusiastic fans will likely think it’s too long, too melodramatic, too long, too slow, did I mention too long?
Hooper’s Les Miz is 99.5% song. If you are expecting the standard movie musical where the characters use dialogue then break into song, maybe rent Singin’ in the Rain instead. However, if you are up to the task, this is the holiday movie for you.
As a veteran stage actor (for which he won a Tony), Hugh Jackman shines as the ex-con turned saintly factory owner and mayor, Jean Valjean. The audience feels the intensity of his pain and suffering as a prisoner for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew and they feel his joy when Cosette comes into his life.
Russel Crowe’s Inspector Javert is either a weak performance or just overshadowed by Jackman’s stellar performance, it’s hard to tell. He comes off like he is trying too hard and doesn’t live up to the other performances of the rest of the cast. Inspector Javert’s intensity and obsession with bringing Jean Valjean to justice for jumping parole is felt through Crowe’s screen presence, however when he starts to sing it is difficult to sit through.
The doomed factory worker turned prostitute, Fantine, is portrayed by the talented Anne Hathaway. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” is both tragic and lovely, the audience feels her pain and longing for a better life. No other female performance this year can match her and if she doesn’t win an Oscar, the Academy Awards are fixed.
For those who want some fun in a musical, fret not, the comedic relief comes when Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter come on screen. As the
The rest of the cast rises to the occasion, belting out their tunes like they are singing to the rafters. Which it turns out they kind of were, Hooper’s decision to have the actors sing live has had mixed reviews. Some people prefer the pre-recorded lip sync musical, however this kind of live singing helps convey the sadness and drama that Hooper and his cast were striving for.
Fans of the stage production of Les Miz, will likely feel fulfilled by Hooper’s rendition and should see it in the theatre right away. However, be warned this film will not be appreciated by every one. For those who do not want to sit through a melodramatic musical this holiday season, go see Django Unchained.
In theatres Dec 25, 2012