At the Movies ~ Les Misérables, 2012 (Photo credit: erjkprunczýk)
The second of this years Best Picture nominee's is the movie adaptation of Les Miserables, directed by Tom Hooper. Set in 19th Century France, the story follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a released prisoner who eventually breaks his bail conditions and relentlessly pursued by Javert (Russell Crow), the unforgiving policeman who dealt with him during his incarceration. Valjean ends up meeting factory worker Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and upon her brutal death, agrees to care for her young daughter Cosette. As Cosette becomes a woman, she meets Marius, a young revolutionary plotting to overthrow the French throne. A battle ensue's and he is saved by Valjean. The portrayal of all of the characters is second to none, its really quite amazing how much character and emotion is put across, particularly when you consider that the movies dialogue is all sung. The moving scenes Anne Hathaway faces are pulled off with extraordinary poise, and genuine emotion, utterly justifying her Golden Globe win and the nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crow put in career defining performances with excellent vocals and managing their roles with an ease not often seen on the silver screen. As grown up Cosette Amanda Seiyfried moves on from Mama Mia, and shows a maturity much beyond her years. The main stars aside there are other stand outs, the youngest stars Isabelle Allen and Daniel Huttlestone at times steal the spotlight from the more established stars, delivering polished performances. The other standout performances come from Helena Bonham-Carter, which is what you expect, but acting along side a shockingly good Sacha Baron Cohen, the pair become a great double act, a real pleasure to watch. The sets are awe inspiring, and the music is simply devine, you are totally sucked into this movie in a way few others have ever done, you feel for these people, genuine feelings. It has its faults, the original song 'Suddenly' is a poor, and unnecessary addition and really stand out from the otherwise faultless musical accompaniment. The singing was actually recorded live, which really adds emotion to the songs, keeping the stage feel to it. Its going to be very hard to stop this movie, never before has a movie had me crying after 30 minutes, and then again at the conclusion. It is a tour de force of a movie that will earn its place at the top end of a list that includes The Wizard Of Oz and Chicago. At the time of nomination this movie had not even been given its full release, thats the reputation and expectation this story has to live up to, and it could do very well indeed.