Hit or ‘Mis’: Les Miserables Review
December 26, 2012
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As someone who loves musical theater, I was really excited for this to come out. I had high expectations from the line extending all the way to the door as well as hope that it could match a live performance. While it was different from a live Broadway show, I was still blown away by its skilled cinematography, phenomenal acting, and beautiful music. It addresses issues like poverty, slavery, prostitution, revolution, and faith in God and morality. It’s a wonderful cinematic experience for those who like music or history. That is, if you don’t mind listening to three straight hours of singing.
The movie takes places during a 20-year period of the French Revolution, following the life of ex-convict Jean Valjean as he escapes slavery and creates a new life for himself in the name of God. He adopts a young girl named Cossette after failing to save the life of her mother, yet must constantly flee from his former oppressor, Javert, whose challenge is finding where the line between good and evil is. Meanwhile, a young boy named Marius is helping to lead a revolt against the French Government in Paris. It is a question of good and evil, right or wrong, as these characters’ paths intertwine and they must overcome the struggles of love, poverty, bloodshed, and sacrifice.
Each of the cast members played their part strongly, whether good, evil, or somewhere in between. They each added their own voices that were unique and fitting to their character. Director Tom Hooper had made the decision for the actors to record their vocals on set, instead of lip-syncing to a studio recording, so each song possessed the emotion only otherwise attained during a live performance. During each song, the audience could feel the love or determination or desperation or anger in each of the characters’ voices.
Similar to Phantom of the Opera, the movie was extremely well done and it seems, very popular with audiences of all age. Theater geeks like myself would love it, and anyone who wants to cry. However, those who are easily bored (children mostly) or can’t stand constant music for long periods of time, should probably avoid it.