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Les Miserables (2012)

Posted on the 17 January 2013 by Emilymoon @em_moon_reviews
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Tom Hooper previously directed The King's Speech in 2010, which was a massive success and, so far, so is Les Miserables. Whilst I was surprised to hear Hooper as the director, but he isn't a big name, he has done this legendary musical justice on the screen.
For those of you who aren't aware (who must be only few) this is a story of of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an ex-convict who is hunted by Javert (Russell Crowe), and of a group of young revolutionaries including Marius (Eddie Redmayne), Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) and Enjolras (Aaron Tveit). Most of the characters in Les Miserables have interconnecting stories - such as Eponine (Samantha Barks) is in love with Marius - who is in turn in love with Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) - and grew up with Cosette, as her parents looked after her for Fantine (Anne Hathaway).
The whole cast gives an amazing performance, however for me Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, whilst the strongest in their parts acting-wise, aren't quite as talented in terms of singing as many of the other actors.
Whilst Hugh jackman and Russell Crowe didn't do it for me vocally, they both play these characters well, they both have the look of Jean Valjean and Javert and are both such amazing actors, however I feel perhaps Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks (who played Eponine in the stage version of Les Mis) have been overshadowed by these great actors, whereas they certainly deserve a lot of recognition too. I felt that these two gave the best all-round performances.
I really can't praise Eddie Redmayne enough. I was completely shocked, I had no idea he could sing, and he certainly can sing. He's definitely a triple threat he can act, he can sing, and he is very attractive! His vocal range is incredible and heroes this part justice, I think he would thrive in this role on the stage. His performance of 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' was one of the best solo performances of the play, it was so emotional, it made my cry, and I could see I wasn't the only one.
And Anne Hathaway surprised me too, I already knew Amanda seyfried could sing from Mamma Mia, even if she was perhaps a little shrill, but Cosette always is! But I had no idea Anne Hathaway had it in her, her performance of 'I Dreamed a Dream' when she is crying, was so good, I feel like she could be a successful recording artists if that's what she wanted.
It was emotional in all the right bits, and I cried when eponine died, just as I did when I saw it at and the theatre, as well as during 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables', and when Jean Valjean dies. I didn't expect to get as into the story as I did in the theatre, but if anything I felt more involved. I think this has a lot to do with the use of close up shots.They are very effective in evoking emotion especially with the talented actors. This teamed with eye contact with the camera (for example i 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables') when he looked up at the camera, and he was crying I started to cry too.
Ultimately it is not a happy story, it doesnt really have a happy ending either so Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen are perfect for the roles of Madame Thenardier and Thenardier respectively, which provide some much needed comic relief to the story. They play the boisterous roles really well, they really bounce off each other onscreen.
The new song which was written for the film 'Suddenly', performed by Jean Valjean in the carriage whilst young Cosette sleeps. It's a beautiful song that fits well into the story. I think it's really good that they didn't completely copy the musical, they changed the order of some songs, shortened others and new music was composed for the battle scene, which helps to set the film apart from the musical.
It is an absolutely amazing film, and I already don't know if ill see another one that good in 2013.
However, I hope the success of this film doesn't mean that people stop going to see Les Miserables at the theatre, because whilst this film is amazing, it's a completely different experience to go and see it on the stage, and I think everyone should experience both.
When I went to see this film the cinema was completely full and at the end everyone clapped which I think says it all.
If you enjoy this film, I recommend: The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Marie Antoinette (2006) and Moulin Rouge (2001). However, I have to be honest, it's pretty difficult to recommend any films, because there isn't anything quite like the Les Mis film out there!

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