When I discovered Les Miserables was coming out in the cinema I was desperate to see it. I was excited about both the story and actors that were in it and was sorely disappointed when I could neither find the time, money nor the person to go and see it with! So when the DVD came out on Monday it was my time to experience this cinematic masterpiece, and I was ready with the wine and chocolate in hand!
Directed by Tom Hooper (also known for ‘The King’s Speech’), the story is set in 19th Century France during the French Revolution. The main character, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), breaks parole after years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving nephew. He is hunted by ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) when he disappears to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen; Amanda Seyfried). It’s a musical and the story is solely told through song.
From the opening scene I was completely blown away by both the powerful orchestral music and cinematography (which confirmed to me that I really should have seen it at the cinema – our 32 inch flatscreen TV really didn’t do it justice!) Hugh Jackman’s vocals were impressive and I was quickly drawn into the narrative and emotive feel to the movie.
I was surprisingly disappointed by Russell Crowe’s performance as I’ve always thought of him as an impressive actor, but as this movie was a musical I would have expected a more powerful vocal from him. Not only that, I didn’t connect with his character on an emotional level. He was quite stayed and reserved, which in his defence may have been the type of character he was trying to portray!
Anne Hathaway’s performance was quite simply out of this world! She deserves all the recognition and acclaim that she has already received for this role. As my husband put it, she sings ‘like a bird’ and with such raw emotion that took my breath away.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter’s characters provide a welcome comedic contrast to the emotional heaviness that characterises the rest of the movie. With the roles of M and Mme Thenardier, the dodgy innkeepers, they provide a lot of laughs which is carried through intermittently throughout the movie.
I also have to mention the incredibly talented child actors. Isabelle Allen plays a young Cosette. By anyone’s standards, this ten year old girl has huge talent. She sings like an angel and plays the role with sensitivity and grace. As her debut into the movie world, she couldn’t have done any better. Daniel Huttlestone plays the role of Gavroche, the young, brave little soldier who joins the revolutionaries. Huttlestone fits the character like a glove, and it was no wonder to find that he also played the same role on stage in London.
I absolutely loved this film. With it’s powerful storyline, incredible performances and unforgettable musical score it is definitely one to watch…. again and again and again….
You can buy it here.