Brian's Review of Les MisÚrables
Les Miserables, though inflated and sometimes manipulative, faithfully adapts what has been deemed a classic story about poverty, revolution, redemption, etc. I've never seen any other adaptations nor read the source material of Les Miserables, but I was enthralled and mesmerized by the movie's story and fantastic performances. Jackman played lost soul Valjean with precision while Hathaway gave her all, body and heart, to play the desperate mother Fantine. The rest of the cast, and I struggled to find one actor who didn't act at an enormous level, performed with absolute brilliance. The main characters were given room to shine in their own spotlights, which allowed for depth in character development. I was therefore much more invested in the compelling stories of the individuals, and felt a powerful gratification. I know Hooper's direction has been criticized for its lack of focus and conciseness, but I was thoroughly impressed by his vision and felt his guidance propelled the film to immaculate heights. The two things he did struggle to balance were the length, which was more faithful to the source but slightly suffered as big screen treatment, and the false sentiment provoked by the glazing eyes and tears of some of the confession-ridden monologues lacking in sufficient build-up, but this was occasional-- so, I have little to complain about on both of my qualms. Overall, Les Miserables is a beautiful, sweeping marvel of a film that succeeds largely on the strength of its alluring cast and devastatingly enlightening story. It's not only far and away the best musical of 2012. but the best musical I've ever seen.