LES MISERABLES – If there is one musical film that the whole world is waiting for, it is, with no doubt, the Les Miserables. I’m sure a lot will agree with me if I say that this film is one of the biggest, the grandest, the most spectacular events to grace the silver screen in the last decade. I have always loved the story of LesMiserables. The journey of every character especially Jean Valjean is astonishingly brilliant. The book by Victor Hugo is a treasure that you will keep forever and with delight and utmost pride, I’m thrilled to say that this movie version is as equally stunning.
The movie (based on the novel) contained multiple conflicts and subplots. The major conflict threaded through the whole narrative is between Jean Valjean played by Hugh Jackman and Javert, which was brilliantly portrayed by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. Valjean has served his time and earned release from prison, but it is release with a yellow passport-meaning everywhere he goes, everyone from employers to landlords will know that he has a tarnished past. This makes him suspect even when he is innocent of any wrong doing. Javert sees the law as an answer for everything, and no exception should be made regardless of how small the crime (ref: bestnotes.com).
The situation is complicated when Valjean takes upon himself the care of Cosette, as he feels responsible for the death of her mother, Fantine (Anne Hathaway). With Cosette, Valjean learns to love and the bitterness of the years of injustice melt away. He thinks of himself as a convict and makes no excuses; his only reason for hiding and avoiding Javert is to protect Cosette and his fatherly relationship with her.
A very beautiful, dynamic, rich story and of course it was made even better with the outstanding performances of the ensemble chosen to give life to these iconic characters. Let me start with Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron-Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter, who, despite how small their characters were in this motion picture, they were able to give justice to the roles given to them and brought life to the characters they are representing (Cosette and the Thenardiers). Bonham-Carter, in particular, was fantastic and I couldn’t think of anybody else to play that part as brilliant as she did it.
Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Aaron Tveit (Enjolras) and Samantha Barks (Eponine) were the film’s ultimate revelations. Despite acting next to the Hollywood giants, these three actors were able to effortlessly deliver what was expected from their respective characters. Redmayne and Tveit’s scenes together were amazing and Barks rendition of ‘On My Own’ can’t be better than that, it was fluid, emotional and beautiful.
Last but not the least, the three main pillars of the film; Hugh Jackman (Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert) and Anne Hathaway (Fantine). They are the magnificent three and they all had their glorious moments in the movie. Hathaway’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ scene is one of the most memorable, captivating and excellent parts – that scene alone is enough to give Hathaway an Oscars victory. Director, Tom Hooper, magnificently captured the magic in that particular moment making it truly iconic and special. Russell Crowe is perhaps the most underrated of all considering how great he was as Javert. I love his ‘One Day More’ bit and he certainly possessed and gracefully exhibited the power required by the character. Jackman, on the other hand, is a genius. I really wish he could snatch the Oscar statuette from Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis) because what he did in this film was just unbelievable.
The idea of singing live and on the set is a risk. It was great and it worked at certain scenes especially the solo ones with Hathaway, Jackman and Barks. However, it wasn’t as good in certain instances especially the opening part. The production design is, without a shadow of a doubt, exceptional. The same goes with the musical scoring and art direction.
As somebody who is passionate about musical productions like Les Miserables, it makes me feel proud to watch this film. Not only that it spreads the magic of the musicals but also highlights the importance of music and sound in our lives. The power of music to convey true emotions and it’s impact on our day to day encounters.
The story is about second chances and forgiveness. It is about measuring someone’s worth not because of his past but because of the goodness in his heart, Giving life to the empowering story of Les Miserables through this movie is a very good way of imparting these real messages of life, love and survival to the people of today. I definitely recommend this film and would certainly watch it over and over again.