Based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo, and set in the early to mid 1800's, Les Misérables tells the epic story of Jean Valjean who was jailed for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew. His original five year sentence becomes almost twenty after he tries to escape making him a very bitter and desperate man. However, when a bishop saves him, that act of kindness that gives him a second chance and how that event turns him into a positive force is the original tale of "paying it forward." His redemption and how that changes him is the force behind the emotional journey of the story while the fact that he did run away to become someone else and is being hunted by a police inspector is the major driving element behind the plot.
|Hugh Jackman as "Jean Valjean"|
|Anne Hathaway as "Fantine"|
Russell Crowe is Javert, the inspector who makes it his lifelong mission to hunt Valjean down and while Hooper mentioned he cast actors who could sing instead of singers who could act, Crowe is able to hold his own against his more vocally gifted co-stars. Sure Crowe's voice is a little on the softer and gruffer side, but I liked the way his singing was more internal and seemingly coming from an unbalanced man, which was clearly in line with the character of Javert. While he can't hold some of the notes as long as some of the stage Valjean's have, I thought his performance was as calculated as his character is and I like it more and more that I think back on it.
|Russell Crowe as "Javert"|
|Amanda Seyfried as "Cosette" and |
Eddie Redmayne as "Marius"
|Samantha Barks as "Eponine"|
William Nicholson has taken the original sung through musical and made changes to the script both alone and in consultation with the original French creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, English librettist Herbet Kretzmer as well as producer Cameron Mackintosh to fill in some of the more vague moments of the musical. By adding in some things from the original novel, as well as moving some of the songs around, the overall effect is a tighter show with a clearer dramatic arch. The movement of two of the big songs, Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" and Eponine's "On My Own" to be in more dramatic moments of their character's journeys are two simple changes that made me think "Of course it makes more sense to have those songs at those points in the show." I'm curious to see if those same changes, or at least the movement of "I Dreamed a Dream," are made for future productions of the stage version.
|Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen |
and Isabelle Allen
While the film is still in theaters, the blu ray/DVD has just been announced with a March 19th release date. Amazon link for the blu ray/DVD is below.
Trailer for the film:
In depth behind the scenes feature: