LES MISERABLES (Theatrical Release USA 2012)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.9|5.0 Starsììì

Les Miserables starts well—almost with the majestic feel of Lord of the Rings. This musical is not the ‘typical’ musical—much of the dialogue is sung without the benefit of rhyming lyrics and musical score. Now that the format is understood, the story can be settled into. The first big surprise is that Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway can sing—well. We already know Hugh Jackman can sing (Oklahoma!). The acting is—good. The story is—unsettling, darkly written. It’s no Cinderella story—the working-class, single mother does not rise to a place of plenty, but is lowered into a life of prostitution, disease, and poverty. This story is a dive into reality where revolutionaries do not live to celebrate the day, but are massacred as they stand and deserted by those for whom they fight. Good deeds are not rewarded and injustices are madly pursued until the critical question is finally asked, “If we live in a world of grace and forgiveness, what happens to law and order?” Irreconcilable worlds clash, neither one forgiving of the other, until it seems that only on the other side of death shall all be made right. The climatic ending scenes send this movie through the roof for kudos. Les Miserables takes a while to tell its story, but don’t miss it.

Storyline

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released on parole, but cannot find a job. Bishop of Digne (Colm Wilkinson) gives him a place to stay, but Jean Valjean steals his silver. When the police catch Jean Valjean, the Bishop tells them he gave the silver to Jean Valjean and then tells Jean to go make a life for himself.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Tom Hooper for directing efforts. Thank you to Executive Producers Nicholas Allott, Liza Chasin, Angela Morrison, F. Richard Pappas, and Thomas Schönberg for making the film possible. Additional character/cast include: Javert (Russell Crowe), Fantine (Anne Hathaway), Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen), Madame Thénardier (Helena Bonham Carter), Marius (Eddie Redmayne), and Enjolras (Aaron Tveit).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. The film’s message is unmistakable and needs to be retold again and again.

Ben Meyers

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