Set in revolutionary France, ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is given parole after serving 19 years in prison for a minor offence. Under the watchful eye of the villainous Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), Valjean breaks his parole and becomes a wanted man. However, Jean Valjean finds light in the darkest of times in the form of innocent youngster Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). Fuelled by fatherly protection, Valjean must save Cosette and keep his freedom.
Musicals; the one genre that people are embarrassed to admit they enjoy. Well, Tom Hooper takes those connotations and smashes them to bits with his filmic portrayal of one of the longest running musicals globally. Les Miserables revolutionises the musical genre and makes it accessible for the cinema (and it’s a lot cheaper too!).
Filmed with live on-set vocals, the film pushes the likes of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe to their acting limits. Sure, some of the vocals are a little shaky at times and Russell Crowe’s dulcet tones seem monotonous in places, but all this encapsulates the intense emotions felt during revolutionary France. In particular, Anne Hathaway’s performance of I Dreamed A Dream was so emotional and hauntingly beautiful that it didn’t leave a dry eye in the house. Additionally, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen created the perfect mix of hilarity and light-heartedness, which was definitely a welcomed relief from the otherwise dramatic plot.
What makes Les Miserable so impressive and worthy of a feature, is not necessarily the acting calibre (although that does help!), but it’s infusion of theatre and cinema for a contemporary audience. Samantha Barks, who plays Eponine, played the same character in London’s West End, therefore adding a high brow theatrical tone to the film. Overall, the songs were catchy, the lyrics were emotional, the set designs were realistic and the acting style was not at all cheesy, everything you need for that perfect cinema experience. If you haven’t already seen Les Miserables, make sure you take some tissues because we guarantee you will be sobbing uncontrollably at the end!