Review by Lilly M
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Ex-prisoner Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. It is a great but tragic story.
Les Miserables did not have the magic expected in a musical as this is one genre which never failed before and it failed in this movie. The adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel to stage has been one of the finest things happened to Broadway but adapting the Broadway play to a movie did not work.
What saved the movie are the performances of the actors. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway gave the best performances. Parts of the movie is a drag at times and seem unfocused, but the characters and Jean Valjean and Javert are so developed that you could not help but sit through two and a half hours of non-stop singing.
The movie is excruciatingly long but it is satisfying. The story is really captivating so with the sets and the singing of some of the actors. Every performer did an outstanding job with their numbers maybe except for Russell Crowe.
The film has big names with familiarity in the storyline but it lacks great vocalists to draw the interest of viewers. A musical movie should be made with not just actors but actors who can sing.
The decision of having the actors sing on-screen may be the best way to translate musicals to the screen but after a while it made each song feel exhausting to sit through. That being said, “Les Miserables” is a beautiful movie that contains some of the years’ best performances.