Directed by: Tom Hooper
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks
There are some films that are destined to make it huge at the box office, even while it’s still in production. Unsurprisingly, Les Misérables made £2.3M in its opening day in the UK on Friday, being the biggest opening day for a musical. I was one of those tickets and I’m glad to have been.
Review: Victor Hugo’s novel has been adapted to film many times before, and then the novel was adapted to a musical. But Tom Hooper’s adaption of the musical is something new. Live singing (no sound editing), extravagant action and phenomenal acting all in one.
Above anything else, Les Misérables is an actor piece; the entire structure is kept together because of the outstanding acting from a ray of perfectly fitting actors. Anne Hathaway’s brutally heart-breaking but enchanting performance as Fantine is entirely worthy of an Oscar, as she steals the film within the first half an hour. Hugh Jackman’s passion and assertiveness as Jean Valjean follows throughout the whole film, so that every moment on screen is a delight to watch because it’s striking. In fairness, everyone is a delight but the eye opener of the film is Samantha Barks who, in her debut film role, shines. Being one of the only stars of the film to reprise her role from the stage show, it’s clear why she was chosen as her voice and mannerisms as Éponine are charming and graceful.
This is a real musical, with minimal speaking dialogue and everything proclaimed through song, something films do not do enough of now. It’s effective, gloriously adding delicacy to the harsh themes of Les Mis, while the live singing from each character captivates the exact overwhelming feeling watching a musical does. After each number there is a burning desire to stand up and clap, to compliment the actor’s for their fine performances despite the fact it’s not live.
Les Misérables is stunning, captivating and beautiful. To find a real flaw is impossible.