There were a lot of things said (good and bad) about Golden Globe’s Best Motion Picture for Musical and Comedy – LES MISERABLES. A lot of rave and not-so-rave reviews about the film, the cast and the over-all production which is quite natural really for a re-make or an adaptation.
Les Miserables (the miserable ones, the poor ones or the victims) is a literary masterpiece by Victor Hugo that was made even more popular when adapted into a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg from which the 2012 film version was based.
I was conditioning myself to really not write a review or anything about Tom Hooper’s version of this Victor Hugo classic because there are already hundreds of reviews that came out even before the movie was shown here in the Philippines. But after watching the movie last Saturday during a special screening at the SM Mall of Asia Director’s Club Cinema I can’t help but pour my thoughts about the film here on my blog.
Technically, I have to agree that it was not a real musical masterpiece and the vocals definitely is nowhere near Broadway quality. But, I did not based my review on its technical merits. I based it by heart. I based my judgment on how the story was presented and how it moved me or how the whole thing touched me on a spiritual (not just emotional) level.
Let me just say that the movie did not make my eyes swell with tears… it actually did more than that, this film made me cry (almost to the point of sobbing), not only once but several times while watching it. Aside from that, this film actually made me look at the kind person that I am right now. It made me realize a couple of things about my life and how I’ve lived it.
Tom Hooper made use of the medium of film to make a replica of a masterpiece that speaks the language of a new generation without veering away from the true essence of the story.
- The story of a mother who would do anything and give up everything for her child.
- The story of a young woman who would give anything and give up everything selflessly for the one he truly loves.
- The story of how a man of hate who’s heart was hardened by suffering can be touched by the grace of God, gives up everything to Him and turned his life around to become a man full of compassion and love for others even for his enemies.
- The story of men and women who would fight and give up everything for freedom, change and the love of fellow men and the poor.
Tom Hooper understood perfectly that the message can be conveyed even without using magnificent vocal talents in the film, even if it is a musical. The casting in my opinion was perfect. Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe portrays the character of Jean Valjean and Javert deserving of an Academy Award. I cried when Fantine played by Anne Hathaway died in the movie. I cried when Eponine played by Samantha Barks died in the movie. I cried when Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) died.
But it was not all tragedy, I smiled upon the sight of the comical characters of the Thenardiers played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter which was a delight to see. They were the light and funny part of the story but it was so amazing how they did it without disrupting the mood of the film which is supposed to be dark, tragic and conflict-filled. Again, I commend director Tom Hooper for this.
I also love the character of the little kid in the rebellion named Gavroche played by Daniel Huttlestone.
Since Les Miserables is a musical, I would like to commend the wonderful vocals of Eddie Redmayne who played Marius, the young revolutionary who Eponine loves but falls in love with Cossette instead. His rendition of the song “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” was the most powerful version I’ve heard.
The young Cossette played by Isabelle Allen and her rendition of “Castle on a Cloud” was so moving and heavenly.
And of course, Amanda Seyfried who I think has the best vocal quality in the whole cast.
I also love Anne Hathaway’s “I Dream a Dream” and the movie’s version of “In my Life” and “One Day More.”
The other song interpretation was fair but it did not affect the quality of the film. I would wish for a better singer than Russel Crowe for the song “stars” but then again, I’ve looked into his eyes while he was singing that song and there isn’t a better actor than Russel Crowe who can best give life to the character of Javert. He’s perfect for the part – musical or not.
It was an exciting movie to watch and a cinematic triumph. This film is truly one for the books and should belong to the ranks of Titanic.