John's Review of Les MisÚrables
I must warn you that I'm a very big fan of Les Miserables. I've seen the stage production about 5 times throughout the last 10 years. I enjoy the music and I'm also known to sing Master of the House on karaoke from time to time. So this review is coming from a big fan of the story.
If you have no idea what the story is about. The best way to sum it up is to call it the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). He just finished doing 20 years for stealing bread. And he breaks his parole to become a new man. Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) is always on his coat tails searching to bring Valjean back behind bars. Of course there is a love story or 2 hidden in here, some war, and redemption.
The casting of this film was done with perfection. All of the characters stayed true to the story, the look, the feel and their personality. Samantha Barks played the part of Eponine onstage and she was given that same part in this film which was great to see. Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine will draw an Oscar nomination for sure. My 2 personal favorite characters are the Thenardier's. They provide a lot of comic relief in the story and casting Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter was a fantastic choice for these roles.
A few things that may bother big fans of the stage production is a few differences. A few of the songs are out of order. Which I found odd at first but in order to build up the war scenes it was needed. There is a new song that was used when Valjean runs off to Paris with young Cosette. Which was needed because in the stage performance we don't see that part. A few other songs like Drink with Me were cut off very short. And one song that was missing Dog eat Dog was disappointing. But when the films wraps I was very happy with how well it was done. It's a long movie running almost 2hrs and 45mins. So the songs that were cut short or missing we're most likely done to keep the film under a certain running time and to keep the story on pace. Overall I was very pleased with this film. It's one of the best I've seen all year. And I'll be at the box office at least one or 2 more times before it's run ends.
If you're not a fan of musicals you might not want to sit through a 2hr 45min concert. But I do encourage you to at least see if the story interests you. There are a few non-musical versions of this story that are out including a 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Geoffy Rush. Watch one of those versions first. If you like the story then I do recommend seeing the Musical version.
I give Les Miserables... 4 Stars!