Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Movie Review: "Les Misérables" (2012)

I had never seen any iteration of "Les Misérables" until recently when I watched the 2012 musical version of it directed by Tom Hooper. I have never read Victor Hugo's book either, so I only knew the basic outline of the story. In general, I did like the movie as it was very well made and it is a good story. 

"Les Misérables" starts in the early 19th century and is the story of Jean Valjean (played by the always versatile Hugh Jackman) who is a prisoner that gets paroled and then breaks that parole. He does start to lead an honest life after a bishop helps him avoid being arrested yet again. But Javert the prison guard (played by Russell Crowe...who knew he could sing?) who released him still hunts Valjean and vows to imprison him again. Valjean eventually becomes the owner of a factory and even the mayor of the town of Montreuil-sur-Mer. During this time, one of his factory workers (Fantine, played superbly by Anne Hathaway) is shown to be supporting her illegitimate daughter any way she can, most notably by becoming a prostitute. This is discovered and she is eventually arrested for attacking a customer. At this time, Valjean begins to raise Fantine's daughter (Cosette, played first by Isabelle Allen & then by Amanda Seyfried). They eventually run across Marius (played by Eddie Redmayne) who is a student rebelling against the French government and who falls in love with Cosette. All the while, Javert is hunting Valjean and their paths eventually cross. I will stop the recap here as I don't want to spoil the ending.

"Les Misérables" is a good story with 19th century France being an excellent, turbulent backdrop. The film was made very well, it was well-written and all of the actors turn in great performances. Tom Hooper did a nice job directing this movie as it has a very epic feel to it without being too over the top. But...this is a musical where the majority of the dialogue is sung. The singing was "live" in that no lip synching was done whatsoever. At times, some of the actors seemed to be straining when they sang, but all in all, they did a very good job.

I am not a fan of musicals where the majority of the dialogue is sung (which is pretty much every musical there is). And this movie is no exception. I find it distracting and hard to follow. I like musicals where the music & singing supplement the dialogue (like "The Sound of Music" or more recently "Pitch Perfect").

While I did like this movie because it was well-made and well-acted, I wasn't blown away by it due to the sung dialogue and give it...6.0/10 stars

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