Daily News header

Les Miserables Movie Review

By     get stories by email

It's impossible to fathom what eminent French writer Victor Hugo may have had in mind when likely mulling the impact of Les Miserables - considered one of the greatest novels of all time - on succeeding generations in the coming centuries down the line. But I'm guessing whatever he was thinking related to the future of his passionate tribute to the fate of the oppressed masses that figure in his work first published in 1862, in no way came anything close to predicting Hollywood multi-millionaires further enlarging their fortunes off the lavishly conceived poverty and torment of his characters in this screen musical.

And Les Miserables isn't enhanced either by a kind of grotesque American Idol collection of performances in reverse, where the rich and famous of the celebrity movie world make a new and different debut ostentatiously breaking out into song rather than dialogue. In effect emphasizing once again style and extravagance over meaning in movies.

les
Cinematic teaser poster, designed by Ignition Print. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Not that docudrama should be designed solely as a history lesson. But trimming the brash theatrics some to allow a bit of Hugo's own contemporary take on raw truth rather than vicarious vintage poverty porn, might have been a nice touch. So what seems to be served up instead, is perhaps the equivalent of One Percent financiers taking time off to masquerade for fun as protesters over at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

The story takes place during the June Rebellion, also known as the Paris Uprising of 1832. The subsequently defeated insurrection was primarily led by students protesting the monarchy. It is against this backdrop that Hugo's fictional characters emerge. Hugh Jackman is Jean Valjean, a fugitive convict arrested for stealing a loaf of bread, and then pursued for decades by the dreaded officer Javert (Russell Crowe) after he flees. Eventually Valjean takes it upon himself to care for the orphaned Cosette (Amanda Seyfreid), following the death of her destitute mother Fantine (Anne Hathaway) who is driven into prostitution.

And whatever tumultuous events arise as backdrop to this persistently sudsy scenario, are mostly incidental. And primarily taking a back seat to singing conversations that would have been better off being substantially spoken for maximum effect. Along with giant facial closeups that feel more like an audience detour into Gulliver's Travels instead, as Lilliputians threatened at any moment with being swallowed whole by those gaping mouths on screen.

The final word on Les Miserables: Think charities that primarily enrich themselves by peddling poverty guilt, through pimping the mass misery of the destitute around the world. Okay, maybe not. But Les Miserables comes awfully close.

Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13
2 stars

To see the trailer of Les Miserables:

Prairie Miller is a NY multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio, and on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express. Read more reviews by Prairie Miller. Contact Prairie through NewsBlaze. Read more stories by Prairie Miller.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Movie reviewer, Kam Williams sums up this moving memoir as a remarkable testament to the indomitability of the human spirit as well as a mighty reminder why the evils of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams reviews the film, 'White or Blace' 3 stars and says it is very good. To sum it up, he says the film is about White and Black grandparents clash in a courtroom drama.
Movie and celebrity interviewer Kam Williams chats with Kevin Costner about his new film, 'The Black or White' and shares it with NewsBlaze readers around the world.
Movie reviewer Prairie Miller interviews UK Director Kevin Macdonald about his new movie, Black Sea on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams reviews the film, 'The Imitation Game' which is a life story of unsung hero for cracking Nazi Code.
The detours along this suburban noir road movie are endlessly convoluted, peppered with such richly conceived verbal literary abandon, that all is forgiven.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site