Newest Review: ... have nothing but praise for his strong portrayal of Javert. I would recommend this DVD version to anyone especially for those who prefer to... more
'I dreamed a dream of Les Mis done well...'
Les Miserables 2013 (DVD)
Member Name: Decanus
Les Miserables 2013 (DVD)
Advantages: great acting, great songs, great scenery
Disadvantages: may be a bit long for some, not for people who dislike musicals
This film of the famous musical had big (nineteenth century)boots to fill, and many felt Director Tom Hooper would not succeed; well, they were wrong.
Les Miserables the movie is an absolute triumph in all areas - superb direction, perfect casting, great music, and stunning cinematography giving it a real epic feel. The seemingly daunting 2 1/2 hours running time flew past for me. The songs are fantastic, a great mix of ballads (I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own), humour (Lovely Ladies, Master of the House), and rousing choruses ( One Day More, Do You Hear The People Sing).
The film is (obviously) based on the long running musical Les Miserables, which in turn is based on the epic novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; the musical and film tell the main story of the long, and tragic, relationship/rivalry between two men, ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and policeman Javert (Russell Crowe), both equal measure hero and villain, across many years, and against the backdrop of great political and social upheaval in France. Anne Hathaway is outstanding as the tragic Fantine, and her show-stopping 'I Dreamed a Dream' is stunning; Hugh Jackman is amazing as Jean Valjean (never knew he could sing so well), and even Russell Crowe, imposing as ever, does well as Javert.
Their performances have to carry the main part of the film, and they do, but the support from Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette),Sacha Baron Cohen (Thénardier), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier) is just as good. Sacha Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter steal every scene they are in, and their 'Master of
the House' set-piece is classic. I was also impressed with Eddie Redmayne as Marius, but less so with Amanda Seyfried, who's singing I felt was a little weak.
I can honestly say I enjoyed every aspect of the film, but probably the best thing was that not only did they include nearly every song from the musical (only 2 were left out, though some were shortened for running time reasons), all the actors sang 'as live', no recording afterwards, dubbing etc. The songs you hear are the real actors singing in one take, to a piano playing in a hidden earpiece,which makes some of the performances incredible. Even the singing of Russell Crowe, sneered at in some quarters, was decent enough, the only real struggle coming with his solo songs, which are very tough for any singer.
What struck me the most was that, after a few minutes into the film, you tune out the fact that they are always singing, and just start to enjoy a good, if a tad melodramatic, story and good performances. The songs are just such a natural part of the film.
Speaking as a man who loves action,sci-fi and horror films mostly, this film brought a tear to my eye several times. If the final Hugh Jackman scene doesn't bring a lump to the throat you must have a heart of stone....It is every bit as good as the stage show.
I can't give a better recommendation than that.
Summary: A perfect adaptation of a great musical