Monday, January 21, 2013

Les Misérables

Directed by Tom Hooper

Screenplay by William Nicholson 

Based on the stage musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil (book) and Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics)

Original French text by Alain Boublil & Jean-Marc Natel

Additional text by James Fenton

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Sascha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks and Daniel Huttlestone

There was no inclination of me seeing Les Misérable, because there was no intrestest in seeing it. I might have to give up my gay card, but musicals are getting played out. This is a straight person's musical with lots of death and drawn out ballads. I like the flashy musicals. What can you do? Since the movie with nominated for eight Oscars, it was my duty to see it. The title is fitting. It was a miserable expierence.

Taking place in France, a prisoner Jean Valjean (Jackman) is released from serving hard work when he stole a piece of bread. Excuse me, that is the starting point of the movie. I think that so fucking stupid. Valjean is released by Javert (Crowe), a ruthless policeman that attended for Valjean's life to be a living hell. Under the conditions of his parole, he has to check in frequently. Valjean decides to go on the run and change his idenity. 

Years later, he is a mayor of small town. One of his factory workers, Fantine (Hathaway) is tossed out in the streets. She has to turn to prostitution to help pay for the care of her young daughter, Cosette. When Fantine dies, it has become Valjean's duty to help raise Cosette as he promised to Fantine. Valjean and Cosette has to live their lives on the run from Javert.

The opening frames of this movie, I knew that I was going to hate it. No. I don't hate it. The movie is like being in a canoe in the middle of a hurricane. There is this build up then the eye of the storm comes and some remnants remain. You just want to toss your cookies.

I'm not going to bag on the entire movie in this review. The notables highlights of the film were the breathtaking visuals, the costumes. It was aesthetically pleasing, but the movie is 97% singing. Everything seemed muddled together. I enjoyed the female characters in this movie more than the males. Anne Hathaway was transcendent in her part as Fantine, the prostitute dying of consumption. She broke my heart. A special commendation goes to Samantha Barks who played Éponine. She was fantastic in brief appearance in its 2 1/2 hour runtime.

Does Hugh Jackamn deserve his Oscar nomination? I'm debating on that. Hugh was fine. I have a huge problem with Jean Valjean's intentions. The decisions that he made where questionable. I cannot get into many details without spoiling it. Russell Crowe was cringe-worthy. He has his "band", but him singing was painfully bad. His monotone delivery was almost unbearable.

The main thrust of this movie was the commoners rising up to the establishment. The message of the revolutionaries was trivial. It was an afterthought. I didn't care for it. The movie tried to be the sweeping grand epic, but it felt disconnected to me as the audience member.

My Rating


  1. This one really hit me in a spot that I wasn't expecting, mostly due to the fact that musicals either don't work for me at all, or they have me sobbing in my seat like I just caught the end of Steel Magnolias. Obviously, the latter is what occurred to me. Good review Branden.

    1. I understand why people would have that reaction, Dan. I didn't feel it. I was not connected to the story that much. Anne Hathaway was fabulous. Hugh Jackman was okay. If it wins for costumes, I would be fine with that.