LES MISERABLES (PG)
D: Tom Hooper
Universal/Relativity Media/Working Title (Cameron Mackintosh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner & Debra Hayward)
W: William Nicholson [based on the musical play by Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boubill; from the novel by Victor Hugo]
DP: Danny Cohen
Ed: Chris Dickens & Melanie Ann Oliver
Mus: Claude-Michel Schönberg
PD: Eve Stewart
Cos: Paco Delgado
Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Anne Hathaway(Fantine), Eddie Redmayne (Marius Pontmercy), Samantha Banks (Eponine), Helena Bonham-Carter (Madame Thenardier), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier)
From a personal standpoint, I have to admit that I'm really not a fan of musicals. For me, it's an archaic film genre which faded in the late 1960's. Having said that, stage musicals will always have an audience and, every now and then, a film adaptation arises.
This epic re-telling of the famous musical, based on the original novel by Victor Hugo, is probably best appreciated by those who have either seen the play, or those who like the genre, as the narrative doesn't fully explain the history of the French Revolution for those unfamiliar with it.
There is also no natural dialogue, the story instead allowing the lyrics of the songs to underpin the narrative, which it does quite masterfully.
It still has to be admitted that director Tom Hooper recreates the period impeccably for this ambitious big screen version with particular attention devoted to the set design, costumes and makeup, while Hugh Jackman & Anne Hathaway are absolutely superb in their roles, note perfect on every song and giving their all.
Hathaway, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Fantine, possibly steals the entire show with her delivery of the song "I Dreamed A Dream", although hardly any accolades went to newcomer Samantha Barks as Éponine, who also delivers one of the big musical numbers (On My Own).
With all the songs recorded on set (rather than recorded in post-production), Russell Crowe's booming voice seems out of place amongst the rest of the ensemble, but his singing can't be described as tuneless.
The material is arguably best suited to the stage, but there aren't many faults which can be appointed to this cinematic version. Easily one of the best big screen musicals since the golden age of the genre.