How poor are we when we’ve been stripped of everything we love and cast into the shadows of the Earth? That depends on how the definition of poor means to us. The way I see it, people can suffer but if they still have dreams, then they are still rich of the mind. Even in the dirtiest of feet in the cold dust, as long as they have a heartbeat to survive, then they are in a revolution for their lives. Especially in today’s times, we all fear of losing everything if we don’t pay the bills. The key for today is never giving up and sticking it out with everyone we love. Show everyone that you’re still human, and pass on your kindness.
The beautiful underscore of human generosity is beautifully defined in the great French classic, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. The novel has been around since 1862, but a lot of the fan base comes from the 1980’s musical of the same name. This was one of Broadway’s longest running shows and is still popular for community theaters. Given that the musical is mostly sung through with over forty songs, a big screen translation could have not been easy. It is only proper that Les Misérables was given the same, epic scope treatment that every show receives.
In 1815, convict Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) is released on parole by prison guard Javert (played by Russell Crowe) after serving a nineteen-year sentence. After being shown generosity from a bishop, Valjean abandons his required passport to start all over. Cut to a mere eight years later, he has become a factory owner and a mayor of a small town. Working in his factory is Fantine (played by Anne Hathaway), who is discovered to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, who lives with the unscrupulous Thénardiers (played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter).
When she is fired and stooped to become a prostitute, Valjean takes her to a hospital where she passes away in a warm bed. He vows to find and care for he child, but just brfore he escapes Javert, who discovers who he really is. After a gluttonous deal, Valjean takes Cosette to Paris to again start over. Nine years later, the only government official sympathetic toward the poor, is nearing death. Students Marius Pontmercy ( played by Eddie Redmayne) and Enjolras (played by Aaron Tveit) are planning a revolution to make a change for the poor.
Director Tom Hooper knew exactly what kind of a musical that Les Misérables should be; big and dirty. I will go ahead and admit that this film has better actors then singers. Especially with Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried as the weakest singers, the melodies are not always pretty. You would think this would make the movie bad, but I actually think it is rather an advantage. I say this because theater and film have a different language, and the visual imagery suggest that France was a large, but dirty and ugly place. So I found it much more natural that many of the singers weren’t that strong, since their acting does make up for it.
The biggest standouts were Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. These guys are gifted singers and actors, and they seem to apply a lot of passion and truth to their characters. I’ll admit that her rendition of “Dream a Little Dream” did get me a little teary eyed. For the comic relief, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Cater steel every scene literally as their characters pickpocket everything in sight to delightful songs.
I’ll give this five images of Cosette in front of the French flag out of five. Les Misérables delivers what will probably be the best-filmed version of the musical. I have yet to read the book, but I’m aware a lot was trimmed. Looking back at the movie experience, I felt like the spectacle, as a whole was spectacular.