Friday, December 28, 2012

Les Miserables - Review


Despite some of the early reviews which indicated that the movie was less than spectacular, I went to see it for myself. I admit, I have never seen the staged production and I read the book by Victor Hugo so long ago that I have forgotten the intimate details of the story.

I loved the movie. I loved the music. I enjoyed the cinematography and the acting and the character development.

The movie is real and gritty.  The characters are caked with the reality of life during the early 19th century. I could almost smell the streets of France as the movie progressed.

The movie spans 1815-1832 during periods of rebellion and revolution in France; beginning with the final defeat of Napoleon and ending with the June Rebellion. The story revolves around a man, Jean Valjean, played by Hugh Jackman. He was imprisoned for minor thievery for 19 years and is pursued through the rest of his life for breaking parole by the chief policeman, Javert, played by Russell Crowe. Along the way, Jean adopts the daughter of Fantine, played by Anne Hathaway, who had fallen on very hard times and was striving to provide for her daughter, Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried.

The music is spectacular and real. The character development is well done and effective. Did I say the music is fabulous?

Isabelle Allen is stunning and effective as the young Cosette. It is her face that forms the poster for the movie.

Th movie is long, listed at 165 minutes, but it is a fast movie. There are few places where it drags and the depth of the acting, the story, and the richness of the sets and characters make it a very engrossing movie.

I found the make-up to age the characters through the years to be especially intriguing. I also know that many of the actors starved themselves to give the realistic appearance of being destitute during the period of the movie.

In my humble opinion, this movie ought to have a lot of Oscar nominations: Best picture, Best actor: Hugh Jackman, Best supporting actress: Anne Hathaway, make-up, costumes, set design, and a few others.

RECOMMENDATION: See this movie!  Bring tissues for the ending.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


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