Movie review: Les Miserables (M)

GRAND scale musicals are once again in the spotlight at the box office.

French revolution and romance musical Les Miserables was released on Boxing Day and fans of the 1980 musical have already flocked to see the film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.

The story is based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name and follows the story of abnormally strong peasant Jean Valjean.

After being released from slavery after 19 years imprisonment for stealing bread for his young nephew, Valjean (Jackman) struggles to break his criminal ways.

When a priest takes pity on him, Valjean gets the break he needs, skips parole and reforms himself into a morally correct character. 

But with the law abiding Inspector Javert (Crowe) hot on Valjean’s tail, it remains to be seen whether the hero can escape his old life.

Anne Hathaway takes the role of Fantine, a struggling single mother who only cares for providing for her daughter Cosette. The film’s French revolution backdrop is wonderfully shot with many of the sub-plots as intriguing as the two main ones.

A support cast led by Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter is also excellent.

Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter are quite funny in their roles as two cons, who are determined to scrounge a living any way they can.

But for whatever reason it was, this adaptation of Les Miserables felt like it had something missing.

The performances were sound and the cinematography beautiful but I didn’t connect with some of the characters.

Crowe and Jackman are the major highlights. The battle of morality and the law is intriguing and the pair of Aussies do a stellar job.

Samantha Barks (in her film debut) as Eponine also has a fantastic time in the spotlight as she fights for and keeps faith in love.

For someone who hadn’t seen a stage show of Les Miserables but was keenly intrigued by the story, this film version missed a major spark.

The Verdict: 3 stars 

- Les MIserables (M) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. See page 3 of the Bendigo Advertiser for details. 

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