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Les Miserables (2012) Movie Review

December 29, 2012

The story presented in “Les Miserables” is an old and familiar one; one of love, one of revolution, one of fighting for justice, and most of all, one of the human condition. The musical version of the story delivers beautiful melodies even when characters face deep despair. Though it would make for a better soundtrack album if the actors had decided to sing as beautifully as possible, they chose instead to deliver performances steeped in the despair of their characters. This gives us some performances that are closer to talking than singing but for a movie, it works much better.

Thankfully some actors deliver beautiful singing performances. What stood out to me were many of the young revolutionaries, including Eddie Redmayne who surprised me with his beautiful voice. Behind the singing is some impeccably orchestrated music that brings with it a depth of emotion even beyond the ability of the actors to convey. The story is also beautifully presented with elaborate set pieces and multitudes of color. The contrast between major scenes is stark, further driving home the contrast between life in the slums and the life enjoyed by the rich.

The acting by all involved is superb, even if Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe falter at times in their singing. Young Samantha Barks makes a stunning film debut in her role as Eponine. Eddie Redmayne is delightful as Marius. Though her time on screen is relatively short, Anne Hathaway is stunning in her portrayal of Fantine. Whether you are deeply familiar with the story presented here or this movie is your first introduction to the story, the theatrical version of “Les Miserables” presented here is powerfully done and quite memorable.

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