I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Les Misérables on stage but I know enough about the production to know that I prefer "On My Own" over "I Dreamed a Dream". Thank you G.C.S.E music.
The teaser trailer kicked excitement into overdrive and I will never forgive the cinema gods for releasing the film almost three weeks after the US release date.
Normal service will continue in 2013 as I confirm that I have not read the book.
PLOT: Convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) breaks parole and goes on the run from lawman Javert (Russell Crowe). After saving Fantine (Anne Hathaway) from being arrested Valjean adopts her daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) and they live a quiet life in hiding. Their existence is interrupted when young revolutionist Marius (Eddie Redmayne) falls in love with Cosette. On the eve of the revolution Valjean must keep Cosette and Marius safe as Javert closes in. END PLOT
I have no idea how the film compares with the stage show. I don’t particularly care either as Les Misérables is quite the spectacle.
Much has been made of Anne Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream” but you have to see it for yourself to believe that the hype is truly justified and then some. It is an amazing performance with the main part of the song taking place in one uncut take.
Unfortunately Hathaway's performance has overshadowed the rest of the cast who are just as deserving. Jackman, Redmayne and Samantha Barks as Eponine were all just as good as Hathaway. Barks had played Eponine on stage and she did not disappoint with her version of "On My Own".
Amanda Seyfried does what she can with an underwritten role and as I am not a fan of Russell Crowe his portrayal of Javert was nothing more than adequate.
Helena Bonham-Carter is cast in the only role she knows but luckily for her she plays it quite well and Sacha Baron-Cohen was good fun.
The cast all sang live on set however the opening number “Looking Down” was the only song I thought audio sounded a bit strange. Once I got into the film I thought the live performances really helped to emphasise the emotional aspect of the songs. This soundtrack is already on my i-pod (as well as the stage version!)
The set pieces, costumes and sets were all exceptional and coupled with the performances Les Misérables was almost the perfect film. I say almost because with a running time 157mins (IMDB) it is also exceptionally long. I didn’t feel the length until the ending which I felt should have been shortened.
Aside from the length I can’t really find any other faults in Les Misérables which gets a 9/10. I think that it deserves a second viewing just to appreciate how great an achievement the film is. Tom Hooper and the cast should be very proud.