Thursday, January 10, 2013

Les Miserables

Les Miserables is a 2012 film based on hit musical by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alan Boublil, which in itself is based on the 1862 novel by the same name by Victor Hugo, directed by Tom Hooper.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
Russell Crowe as Javert
Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette
Eddie Redmayne as Marius
Samantha Barks as Eponine

In 1815, convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a 19 year sentences, 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread and the rest for repeatedly attemting to escape. Valjean is taken in by the Bishop of Digne but steals his silver during the night. When he is caught by the authorities, instead of condemning Valjean, the bishop lies and says that he gave the silver to Valjean. This act of kindness causes Valjean to turn away from his life of crime for a more honest one.

Eight years later, Jean Valjean, under a new name, is a factory owner and mayor of a small town. One of his workers by the name of Fantine, works so that she can pay for the upkeep of her illegitimate daughter, Cosette. Once her secret is exposed, Fantine is fired by the foreman. With the Thenardiers, whose care Cosette is under while Fantine is away working, demanding ever more money, Fantine sells her hair, two of her teeth and eventually resorts to prostitution to pay for her Cosette's upbringing. During an argument with a customer, Fantine is arrested by Javert but Valjean intercedes.

Later, Valjean learns that another man has been identified as the "real" Jean Valjean. Unable to condemn an innocent man, Valjean reveals his true identity to the court before going to the hospital to see a dying Fantine. He promises the woman that he will care for her daughter as if she were his own and Fantine dies peacefully knowing that her daughter is in safe hands. After escaping from Javert, Valjean visits the Thenardier's to collect Cosette, who has been abused under their hands while their daughter, Eponine, is spoiled, after paying a hefty bill to get her. 

Nine years later, General Lamarque, a general popular with public for his sympathies with the poor is dying. Enjolras, a student, begins to talk of revolution with the street urchin, Gavroche, and his friend, Marius Pontmercy. One day Marius catch a glimpse of Cosette, now a beautiful young woman, and is immediately smitten. He employs the service of his friend, Eponine, to help him find Cosette, not realizing that Eponine herself is in love with Marius. During an attempt to rob Valjean's house, Jean Valjean believes that Javert has discovered his hiding place and he decides to flee with Cosette to England. Heartbroken at Cosette's departure, Marius decides to join the fight. Javert poses as a revolutionary to spy on them but is spotted by Gavroche. During a gunfight, Eponine saves Marius's life by taking a bullet for him. She professes her love to him before she dies.

Valjean discovers Marius's letter of love to Cosette and is determined to save him from death. After saving Enjolras from a sniper, Valjean is accepted into the revolutionary ranks and is allowed the honor of executing Javert. Valjean instead frees Javert much to the confusion of Javert. With dawn, the students realize that the Parisians will not join their cause and prepare for the final battle. Enjolras and the rest of the students are kille. Marius is saved byValjean, who carries him through the sewers. At the end of the tunnel however Valjean is confronted by Javert. Conflicted by Valjean's generosity and his duty, Javert kills himself.

 Marius is reunited with Cosette and the two are set to be married. Knowing that as
long as he is with them he is placing them in danger, Valjean decides to leave. At the wedding of Cosette and Marius, the Thenardier crash the party and threaten to reveal the identity of Valjean to everyone. Monsieur Thernardier shows Marius a ring as proof of Valjean's terrible past not realizing that the ring is actually Marius's. Marius and Cosette rush over to the church where Valjean is dying and spend his last moments with him. Valjean is led by Fantine to heaven and is joined by Eponine, Enjolras and Gavroche.

I give this movie a 4.5/5. An absolutely stunning movie with amazing visuals and spectacular cast. I came into this movie with the mindset that it was a good way to pass time (I read the story in my formative teen years) with my best friend and that Russell Crowe was a terrible singer. Both turned out to be false. Yes, Russell Crowe is not the best singer in the world but he gets the movie along. But no, the movie was fantastic.  Someone who particularly stood out to me was Anne Hathaway who somehow managed to make me cry every time she appeared, I was literally bawling in the theater, gripping as tightly as I could on my best friend's hand when she sang "I dreamed a dream" and "Come to me". I'm happy to learn that she has just been nominated for best supporting actress at the 85th Academy Awards, she surely does deserves it. Shoutouts to Samantha Barks as Eponine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Eddit Redmayne as Marius. For me, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras was the much better hearthrob which is in no way Redmayne's fault and more the fact that I have never particularly liked Marius. Tveit was handsome and charismatic, which is perfect in my book. My one gripe with the movie is Javert's suicide scene. Now the movie did seemed a bit rushed to me as the books seems to play things out a bit longer but I was perfectly fine with it through most of the film. However, Javert's suicide was something I couldn't get into, it seemed rush. And of top of that, when Javert falls to his death you hear this horrible snapping sound that completely took me out of the movie and in that moment the film lost its artistic viewpoint and I just did not like that, it was not poetic. Otherwise, a very good movie and I would tell you to get to the theaters as fast as you can......but make sure you bring a box of tissues with you!

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