Director Tom Hooper’s remake of the legendary tragic story ‘Les Miserables’ is a beautiful tale of one man, Jean Valjean (portrayed by Hugh Jackman) that spends almost his entire life in fear. The film focuses on Jean Valjean, a man sent to jail for nearly two decades just for stealing a piece of bread, being hunted by a brutal officer, Javert (portrayed by Russell Crowe). Javert is obsessed with ruining Jean Valjean’s life and will stop at nothing to get him behind bars again. Valjean escapes parole and runs into Fontaine (Anne Hathaway), a factory worker that gets fired for hiding that she has a daughter. Poor and lost, she turns to selling her hair, teeth and body in order to care for her daughter Cosette (Isabelle Allen). Fontaine falls ill and Valjean volunteers to care for Cosette after she passes. Valjean finds Cosette, and locates a place to live where they won’t be captured by Javert, but trouble ensues when Cosette grows up and the French revolution begins, there is no where to hide.
‘Les Miserables’ is a tragic musical. The entire film is sung. There is absolutely no dialogue whatsoever. Some people may find it difficult to fully understand exactly what is happening because the film is explained through their singing.
The acting in ‘Les Miserables’ is outstanding. Hugh Jackman, the fearless triple threat, encompasses a weak prisoner in the beginning and then a courageous fighter through the end. His character travels through different levels and each and every level, Jackman is mesmerizing. His performance garnered him a Golden Globe Award, a SAG nomination and an Academy Award nomination. Anne Hathaway delivered a fine, but overrated performance. Her singing was swell, but a bit over done. Her performance was rather large for the film screen, had it been on stage it would have been perfect, but overdramatic for the camera. She too won a Golden Globe Award, garnered both a SAG nomination and an Oscar nomination.Russell Crowe was decent in his performance, his singing wasn’t up to the same caliber as Hathaway or Jackman, but it’s great to see Crowe challenge himself and be cast in a role more unique than he’s ever played. The children in the cast haven’t gotten much praise, and they deserve to be recognized. Isabelle Allen and Daniel Huttlestone are truly brilliant in their craft. Allen portrays the beautiful pauper Cosette with pure innocence and grace. Her voice is great and quite strong for a little girl. Huttlestone portrays Gavroche, a young boy who is daring, noble and quite heroic during the revolution.
In conclusion, ‘Les Miserables’ is highly recommended for musical theater fans, people that love the story and music, and people that enjoy all singing films. The film is also recommended to anyone who enjoys a tragic tale of people fighting to find love, peace and happiness.