It suddenly occurred to me whilst I sat pondering what ever in the world to make my next blog entry about, that I have not written a review for the Les Misérables film! How could this be!? I shall promptly remedy such an oversight. So...DUN DUN!
The film was released on Christmas day and I had the joy of seeing it just
after. My pulse was pounding the instant it started-- how could it not be with
Look Down thundering pleasantly in my ears? The story focuses on a man named
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an ex-convict who has spent the past 19 years
working in the galleys as the repercussions of stealing some bread. At the
beginning of the story Valjean's sentence is up and he is released into a world
too unforgiving to accept him because of his "dangerous" reputation.
He finds refuge, however, in the home of a kind Bishop (Colm Wilkinson), but
repays the Bishop's kindness by stealing from him. Valjean is caught and hauled
back to the Bishop who orders the officers to release him and insists that he
gave the man the silver. With this deed the Bishop tames Valjean's wild heart
and thus the hardened criminal becomes a changed man, committing his life to
good. The story that follows is of a man redeemed in the eyes of God but ever
pursued by the strict and unforgiving laws of man personified through the
legalistic Inspector Javert (Russel Crowe).
I will tell you flat out that if you do not like musicals you will hate this
movie, because I could count the times the actors spoke their lines as opposed
to singing them on my hand, but that's the way the play was written and that's
the way the movie goes and that's one of the reasons I love it. I do feel that
the story as read in Les Misérables the book could
definitely be better represented than the play on which the movie was based,
but as a film and as a work of art, it was beautiful.
Keep in mind that the title of the movie IS Les Misérables,
and it IS a portrayal of "the miserable", so the story is not at all
times uplifting, and you will likely cry more than you smile; in fact, it will break
your heart, but in that emotionally binding way that we humans seem to love. Also, be
warned that some scenes are inappropriate for children (the film is rated PG-13
and I did avert my gaze on a couple occasions).
The only thing I have left to tell you is, even if for NO other
reason at all, see this movie for Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine
singing I Dreamed a Dream-- there has never been and likely never will be a
more powerful performance of that song than hers.
I mentioned a while ago that I was reading the novel and wanted to finish it by the time this film was released; well, sadly I did not meet that goal, but I am still working my way through the very, very long --and incredibe-- story. Also, my wonderful fiancé is taking me to the play next month-- yeah, I'm more than just a little bit excited about that. So, certainly more thoughts and reviews to follow!