When Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables in 1862, he probably would not have imagined that his novel would become a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring countless adaptations on the screen and the stage. Some 150 years later, and thanks to the magic of cinema, the public is brought back to the Parisian June Rebellion of 1832, with a brand-new version of this classic tale. From the moment the lights fade in the theatre, the audience know that they’re about to experience a fantastic cinematic journey.
Helmed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), a world-class cast gives thrilling performances during the 157-minute spectacle. Hugh Jackman plays a very moving Jean Valjean, hunted all his life by Inspector Javert, played by the irrepressible Russell Crowe. Anne Hathaway (who, rumour has it, is tipped for an Oscar nomination) is Fantine, a factory worker who asks Valjean to care for her daughter, Cosette. Singing for her life, Hathaway is astonishing, and her version of I Dreamed a Dream will give you chills long after the film has ended. The younger Cosette is played by Isabelle Allen, making a remarkable debut, and later, Amanda Seyfried interprets the older Cosette, with her beautiful voice harmonising perfectly with Eddie Redmayne’s (Marius). Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter bring a delightful touch of humour to the dark atmosphere.
Thankfully, all of the actors can sing. Even then, these 157 minutes spent in France can sometimes be a little tiring. Every word, from the beginning to the end, is sung, with conviction and passion indeed, but sung nonetheless. So beware if you’re not fond of musicals, and think twice before grabbing your ticket, as there is a slight possibility that enduring so many songs will make you…miserable! Are you ready to “hear the people sing”?
Tom Hooper’s direction is flawless and very visual: its trademark close-up shots with wide angles bring the characters right in front of the audience, giving a vivid and real effect.
In a time of worldwide economic crisis, Les Misérables is the perfect movie to see, to help us remember that there always have been, and always will be, fights for liberty, dreams, hopes, and above all, love.
Les Misérables is out in cinemas on 11th January 2013.
Watch the official trailer for Les Misérables here: