Monday, 14 January 2013

Film Review: "Les Misérables" (2013).




The tagline of the film reads "Fight. Dream. Hope. Love." Which is the essence of this screen adaption of Les Misérables. This British musical drama film based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg which is in turn based on Les Misérables, the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. The film is directed by Tom Hooper, adapted by William Nicholson, Boublil, Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer. The film tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who becomes mayor of a town in France. Soon exposed, Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of a dying Fantine, but as a fugitive must also avoid being captured again by police inspector Javert. The plot spans 17 years and is set against a backdrop of political turmoil, which in the film culminates in the June Rebellion of France.

My feelings for the performances in this film were somewhat mixed, there were satisfactory performances. The satisfactory performances being; Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy, Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thénardier, Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier and Samantha Barks as Éponine. They were all general favorable performances were able to keep me from total boredom throughout the entire film. But the main two, Jackman and Hathaway, were the best because either they could sing magnificently or had, at least, one 'good' song in the entire film. Such as Jackman's performance, the charisma had been stripped to the bone, and it was a thrilling confirmation of the other kind of star Jackman is. He brought depth to Valjean's tale of offense and grace, of taking responsibility for a child and then letting go, and his rendition of Bring Him Home had emotional heft. Hathaway's performance of I Dream a Dream, she gave it everything she had, beginning in quiet sorrow before building to a woebegone climax: she gasps, she weeps, she coughs. If you are blown away by the scene—as many will be. The centerpiece of a movie composed entirely of centerpieces belongs to Anne Hathaway, who as the tragic heroine Fantine sang another of the memorable numbers. Her performance was angelic which made it superb as the tragic Fantine. The film is only worth seeing for Hathaway alone. And there were dissatisfying and disappointing performances. Unfortunately that was none other than Russell Crowe as Javert, who was the only rotten apple who was spoiling the whole barrel. His performance and his singing was just down-right boring, miserable and unenthusiastic. The only question I can ask is 'why on earth cast Russell Crowe in this film? His performance highlights, for me, one of the major flaws in this film.

Les Misérables, the popular musical, is rather histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger. But one cannot criticize the sheer spectacle of the film. Teen romance and constant singing replaces the vital elements familiar to fans of the musical and the novel, and director Tom Hooper obscures any remnants of classy stage spectacle with the same overkill that Joel Schumacher brought to Phantom of the Opera (2004).

Simon says Les Misérables receives:


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