Based on a novel by Victor Hugo
Directed by Tom Hooper
Score by Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Alain Boublil
On general release from 11th January 2013
Okay, I'm reviewing this having already seen it twice, because once wasn't
good enough. I've also read the novel three times, seen the musical, got
the DVD of the musical, and heard its soundtrack on umpteen occasions.
I'm quite the fan. And why? Because it has struggle, philosophy, all the
different kinds of love, and barricades...what more does a story need?
It's impossible to describe all the plots and subplots here, but this
epic tale is centred on the life of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who is
just finishing two decades inside for stealing bread when first we meet
him. Several years later, having got religious and got rich, he is a town
mayor and owner of a small factory. There he employs Fantine (Anne Hathaway),
but when it is revealed that she has a secret child, the foreman dismisses
When Fantine dies of consumption shortly afterwards, Valjean vows to
take care of her daughter (Isabelle Allen, later Amanda Seyfried). Through
the years, Valjean and his charge are relentlessly pursued by Inspector
Javert (Russell Crowe), because the former broke the terms of his parole.
All the characters meet their fate on those barricades, as a group of
young idealists attempt to overturn all the economic and political injustice
with an insurrection.
There are necessarily some huge differences of emphasis between the stage
and film versions. The singing quality isn't quite there - particularly
from Crowe - but of course it's far more about acting, and the turmoil
of competing emotions and thoughts within each character. Hooper demonstrated
he was particularly adept at capturing this in The King's Speech - indeed
it was this aspect which made the thing bearable. Here this capacity is
brought out in far more intriguing characters, and in the service of an
infinitely more worthy narrative.
Unless you're rich enough to be well above the fray, you are likely to
find yourself identifying with at least one of the protagonists. From
that point onwards it is an emotional whirlwind, which concludes by celebrating
all that is best within each of us, and sending its audience out with
a profound hope for the possibility of a better world. Now isn't that
better than the embarrassment of an aristocrat?
Read of Les Miserables