Les Misérable is a film I have been dying to see since I first heard it was coming out. I adore musicals and I have seen quite a lot, in London, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Bradford… I see them whenever I can. However Les Misérable is one of the few I have not seen on stage, and trust me, the film only makes me want to see it even more because I know the stage musical will astound me.
Les Misérable is everything it says it will be, it’s a film about fighting, dreams, hope and ultimately love. It is heart-breaking, humorous in parts and utterly touching at your core. The film encapsulates the desolation of the French revolution and how the people were starting to fight back against the monarchy. I think one of the things that got me through watching the film is knowing that they succeeded because trust me, I blubbered! I blubbered a lot and for those that know me well, I am a huge softy when it comes to films.
I must start with saying that Les Misérable has an impressive array of actors and actresses cast in it and many of which surprised me with their ability to sing. It was so utterly unexpected.
Russell Crowe played a character that I could not like at all, and I still refuse to like. However he touched me and his voice was really strong and it resonated through me with his deep tone that projected outwards.
One of my favourite songs was One Day More with the whole cast of Les Misérable involved and I liked Russell Crowe’s part in the song. I particularly liked the movie sequence of seamless changes between the characters as they sang over each other and how it grouped together to create a really nice sound all together. Russell Crowe’s marching back and forth in his uniform was rather dashing and whilst his character as Javert was somebody I despised I also could appreciate his male form there.
He also touched me again near the end, and I warn you he will make you need your tissues. I won’t spoil it for you, but you will need your tissues because somewhere this man does have a heart!
Anne Hathaway… That women certainly surprised me. She certainly can act, but her singing skills were beautiful. And the role she got made up into as Fantine. My only disappointment lies in her short span in the film. The way in which she started as this beautiful, pretty woman and by the end she looked so skinny and abused and she just really played on her role fantastically and absorbed me into believing every moment.
Moving on to Hugh Jackman, he is one of my crushes. My heart skips a beat every time I see him. I mean Wolverine… this is how I see my Hugh Jackman so for him to take on Jean Valjean was quite astounding because I didn’t know he could sing. I have heard some people say he wasn’t quite to their liking and he didn’t fully live up to everything, but I just crushed a little bit more on him.
Jean Valjean is a awe-inspiring character and whilst he appears less than desirable to begin with, his change throughout the film had been rooting for him and the dynamic of his relationship with Javert had me tense and on the edge of my seat throughout the film.
One thing to note is that the whole film (I joke you not) is sung. It is very rare for you to find a line that is not sung, there are a few moments, but conversations, names, everything tends to be sung. So you may find that annoying, but it only added to the atmosphere for me. However do be prepared that you are sitting on your backside for 3 hours to listen to this, so be prepared you have to be in the mood.
The next two characters are truly the ones that broke my heart. Samantha Barks playing Éponine has an absolutely beautiful voice. She played her role so perfectly and she sung from the sole.
She would be an actress that could sing on stage and really own it because her facial expressions along with her singing expressed an awful lot and she touched me.
I expect to see a lot more of Samantha Barks in future because this looks to be bright future for such a voice. I don’t think anybody else could have given justice to her character.
Gavroche was an adorable little boy, with a lot of humour to the story that needed it.
I felt like without him, the story would have been a lot more oppressive. He wormed his way into my heart and wrapped himself around it.
He’s just the cheeky little lad that everybody needs in a film like Les Misérable that is so emotional and in addition to the cheeky little boy, we have two fabulous characters played by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha-Baron Cohen who are two of my favourite actors and actresses.
They were your crooks of the performance and if you are off put by the emotional aspect of Les Misérable don’t worry because these two clearly know what they’re doing in the world of humour. I found that they created the perfect, acceptable balance to the emotion and I didn’t like there characters, but I laughed a lot. And Sacha-Baron Cohen does attempt to do a French accent, the only real person of the film to do so which made me laugh.
Another aspect of Les Misérable is that the country is so huge and Paris is so huge, yet Jean Valjean was found every time by Javert and the place was so infinitely small that all the characters continued to bump into one and other over and over again.
The film does skip forward in time frames over several years to cram all the different characters in, namely the three female characters split between Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks and Amanda Seyfried. Unfortunately, she was the character that let me down, she wasn’t dreadful, and she fit the part in the visual sense, but I just didn’t feel a lot for her really. I felt like the other female characters overshadowed her and she was more the pretty doll on the side since she remained aloof from the pain of everything throughout the whole thing.
On a final note, my Eton boy, English crush stared in this film and I got rather giddy. He’s such a dashing boy. He played Amanda Seyfried, Cosette’s love interest, but he redeemed himself in his ability to sing and act and his just all around gorgeousness. I love his voice.
This is one of my favourite photos of him. He looks so serious.
Overall, I really enjoyed Les Misérable it was a long film to stay sat for and I was in dire need of a toilet visit after, but I cried, I laughed and I fell in love with the story. I am dying to see this at the West End and I have just confirmed that Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Jackman are two of my celebrity crushes. I recommend Les Misérable to everybody whether you usually see a musical or not, I think it has something to offer for everybody. Just remember, tissues at the ready!
Check out Alisa Selene’s review at Picture Me Reading here.