Written July 28, 2016
If you're a fan of Les Miserables and/or musicals... this is a must go.
If not, this may be a long movie for you.
This rendition of Les Miserables does not follow the Broadway show or the novel verbatim. The general story is there, but several character relationships are disconnected from their as written roles. Despite being streamlined, the story is cohesive.
The acting in this movie is beyond top shelf. That being said, Hugh Jackman has a tough time pulling off the vocals and Russell Crowe's characterization of Javert doesn't have the curt and clipped vocals expected of his character. Anne Hathaway absolutely steals the show with her performance. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter provided a nice touch of comedy.
I found the visuals just ok, but I'm recently spoiled from the amazingly beautiful sets of Anna Karenina. That's less important as Les Miserables focuses heavily on the characters faces.
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Written January 04, 2013
Having only seen the Liam Neeson movie version and having NOT seen the musical, I was surprised and stunned at how beautiful and moving this movie was. I have since become a Les Mis junkie (sorry to my poor husband) and now offer the following: I thought the vast majority of the actors sang their roles beautifully. Regarding Russell Crowe - he can carry a tune but don't feel he was great choice for Javert. In fact, I found it distracting to have him in the movie because no matter what, when you see him you just think, "Hey - there's Russell Crowe and he's singing. Why is he singing?" Samantha Barks was fantastic as Eponine. I loved her version of "On My Own." Sacha Baron Cohen was fantastic as Thenardier. I did find some of the group singing hard to understand. Cockney is difficult to understand when merely spoken, let alone sung. In the end, I was sobbing with everyone in the theater. Bring tissues.
Written January 29, 2015
Very moving, very intense, and very long. If you can't sit though 3 hours of music - a total of 49 songs, don't go. If you like musicals, history, period costumes, and beautiful sets, you should indulge yourself.
Written May 24, 2016
It's amazing how differently the same story comes across when presented in a different format. I've read the book, seen the play and now the movie. Each has something unique to offer. The story is compelling in any genre, and while I personally enjoyed the roadshow the best, I did enjoy the movie. I think the movie actors who are cinema professionals did an outstanding job with the character portrayals. I thought Anne Hathaway especially brought a depth of character to Fontine that you wouldn't find in the roadshow. With Russell Crowe as Jabert, he came across as much more human than the strict "legal automaton" that one usually imagines. That said, the road show are cast not only for their acting abilities, but for their voices. If you are expecting the same quality of musicianship, you might be a little disappointed. It's a trade, but again, one worthy of making. I think the best thing about the movie is that it brings the timeless story of "Les Mis" to the masses.
Written December 27, 2012
I've heard most of the recordings and have seen the production live. Since I knew that actors, rather than professional musicians (for the most part) were taking the leads, I expected the acting to be superb, the singing to be so-so, and the emotional intensity to be extremely high. All three exceeded expectations.
The most disappointing aspect of the movie to me was its raciness. I was particularly disappointed by how sex and prostitution were treated as funny in Master of the House, although those same things ruined Fantine's life. The producers seemed to be sending a very mixed message, caving to the typical Hollywood expectations rather than focusing on the social evil that Victor Hugo showed prostitution to be. I was uncomfortable with its explicitness, having taken my younger sister and cousin along with me, expecting the raciness level of the stage show rather than this.
However, the redemption message remains powerful. Worth seeing.