Daily News header

Les Mis Film Review

By     get stories by email

Jackman and Crowe Square-Off in Stirring Adaptation of Broadway Musical

Published by Victor Hugo in 1862, Les Miserables is generally recognized as one of the most important novels of the 19th Century. The socially-conscious, 1900-page opus explored a plethora of themes, particularly power, justice, monarchy and religion.

The moving morality play specifically shed light on the plight of the poor, especially women and children, with the hope of raising awareness about the insensitivity of a callous legal system. I digress by way of introduction only to remind readers that Les Mis' source material was a relatively-profound examination of France's prevailing issues of the day.

Directed by Academy Award-winner Tom Hooper (for The King's Speech), the screen adaptation is based on the long-running Broadway production which won 8 Tony Awards back in 1987. The film version has landed just as many Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman), Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway) and Best Original Song ("Suddenly").

Les Mis Film
Photo Cedit: Rotten tomatoes

Understandably, the novel's labyrinthine plot has been simplified considerably into a tale of love and redemption. Unfolding in Paris in 1815, the movie basically revolves around Jean Valjean (Jackman), a recently-paroled ex-con intent on turning a new leaf after serving 19 years in prison for the theft of a loaf of bread.

On the road to redemption, he promises a prostitute on her death bed (Hathaway) to raise her about to be orphaned young daughter (Amanda Seyfried). Meanwhile, he finds himself mercilessly haunted by a ruthless policeman (Russell Crowe) intent on putting him back behind bars. Officer Javert believes once a crook, always a crook, and accordingly devotes his days to a dogged pursuit of Valjean.

Les Mis is a cinematic rarity in that virtually every line of dialogue is sung. Furthermore, I suppose it might mean something to theater purists that the director eschewed dubbing in favor of having the cast sing live on set.

Entertaining enough to garner this critic's stamp of approval, Les Mis nevertheless pales in comparison to so many of those enchanting classics from my childhood like West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Guys & Dolls. I guess they don't make musicals like they used to anymore.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, mature themes and suggestive material

Running time: 158 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures

To see a trailer for Les Miserables:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

  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

But what makes the movie worth its while is hearing such soul greats as Booker T., Mavis Staples, David Porter and Charlie Musselwhite wax romantic about the good ole days. We learn that the bands were often integrated at a time the rest of Memphis
Prairie reviews events at NY Film Festival, including a way beyond bratty homicidal child celeb exiting detox and his pyromaniac institutionalized sister.
Hector, the eccentric neat freak, is transparent, inauthentic, and just going through the motions with his girlfriend, so he goes on a spiritual quest, alone.
Here, Denzel and director Antoine Fuqua discuss their reuniting to collaborate again on The Equalizer.
Including Richard Gere starring as a homeless man in the dramatic feature Time Out Of Mind, that may not actually be so much about the homeless; a somewhat feminist Confederacy thriller that may be less about the US Civil War than say, Sam Peckinpah
Our Movie Reviewer Kam Williams reviews The Roosevelts: An Intimate History which airs on PBS mid September, with excellent ratings.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

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