Monday, January 28, 2013

Les Miserables - A Hollywood Movie

A still of Les Miserables showing Valjean and Fantine

US | 2012 | 158 minutes | Director: Tom Hooper | Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and many more

I was not in my cheerful mood lately that I went and watched this Hollywood movie last weekend. I read some parts of this Victor Hugo's novel, so I knew that this 158-minute movie could be a great place to cry and weep in a dark room with other people.

The film tells the live of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a man who serves 20 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child. He breaks his parole and is chased by a determined police officer Javert (Russell Crowe).

He tries to steal silver from a kind bishop who gives him supper and shelter, but when the police catches him, the bishop defends him, making Valjean realize that he still has a second chance in life. And so he changes his name and manages to become a factory owner and a major. 

With the wealth he gains, he helps the poor, including taking Cosette (played by Isabel Allen and Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) under his wing. Unfortunately, Javert is still on his tail. So Valjean and Cosette have to move from one town to another. And one day, they land in Paris, amidst the French Revolution Insurgent Barricade, where Cosette meets and falls in love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a young rebel.

Updated: French Revolution took place in 1789, while this novel-adaptation film is set in 1832. Read more about the event that claimed hundreds of lives here.

A still of Les Miserables showing the insurgents during the rebellion

Will Javert be able to catch Valjean? Will Marius and Cosette be together? If you have read the book, then you'd know the answer. But if you, like me, haven't got a chance to read it, then this movie can save your time.

The movie won three Golden Globes and already pocketed eight nominations for Oscar, so there is no doubt of its qualities. However, I personally think that this movie is not for everybody.

Only those who are either history buffs, a fan of the book and musical fans (it's a sung-through film, with the actors singing all dialogs, just like opera) can survive the 158 minutes without sleeping. While I love the lyrics of I Dreamed A Dream, which Anne Hathaway sings, my favorite actor in this movie is Samantha Barks who plays Eponine. I think she really nails her role as a girl with unrequited love.

Eponine and Marius

Have you watched the movie? What do you think? For those who haven't watched it, don't forget your tissue/handkerchief.

Credit: photo top and middle are found at DailyMail and the bottom is from here

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