My Spoiler Free Review of Les Miserables
August 27, 2013 9 Comments
I try not to write two of the same kind of posts back-to-back. In my last post, I shined the light on my favorite non-Disney/Pixar movie, The King’s Speech. Sarabeth and I just rented the next movie by director Tom Hooper, Les Miserables.
There’s a lot I can say about this movie, but one of them is this: Man, that Wolverine can sing! And so can Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway, and everyone else that graces the screen in this classic literature-turned-musical.
Les Miserables is a classic work by VIctor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, neither of which I have had the courage to read.
For those who don’t know the story of Les Miserables, and frankly are a little afraid to venture into such foreign waters, allow me to set the plot to see if I can convince you to invest two-and-a-half hours of your time to this timeless work of art, be it by book, theater, older movie version, or Tom Hooper’s recent Oscar-nominated take.
In post-revolutionary France, Jean Valjean has spent several years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew years ago. He breaks his parole, thus setting the stage for a ruthless manhunt, with the policeman Javert on his trail, who will not rest until Valjean is captured.
This unleashes an epic true to form of many classic works where the plot thickens every ten minutes, twists keep you guessing, and there is a gradual depth to the characters unparalleled in today’s stories.
The second act takes place against the backdrop of the June Rebellion (a slightly bloodier Occupy Wall Street), where all the characters are forced to confront their situations head-on. And nothing ends the way you would think (or dare I say, even hope).
Of course my favorite parts of Les Miserables are the themes of adoption and redemption. There is so much to say here, but I’d rather not give anything away. (Really, I had a whole paragraph written on Hugo’s view of adoption.)
I would highly recommend this film to anyone older than thirteen years old who appreciates theater, or otherwise a gripping story. There are a few scenes in the beginning part of the film that young kids don’t need to know about (prostitution), and most of the humor centers around running a brothel and comes from con-artists – though it is tastefully done, in my opinion.
Don’t be turned off by 98% of the words being sung throughout the film. Admittedly it took me a few minutes to grow used to it, as the music isn’t catchy at first. But as the film progresses, you’ll discover that there really are just a handful of actual songs in between the sung dialogue which are quite astounding (especially in the second act).
I kept putting this movie off because our weekends have been busy and I was afraid I’d be too tired to stay awake through it. This last weekend was no different, but sleep nor boredom were a threat. *cornball alert* The real threat was the oncoming tears and the risk of Sarabeth laughing at me because I get so sucked into the story like a kid in a balloon store.
Don’t miss this one, folks. If you’d rather not see this version, I hear there’s an older one with the great Geoffrey Rush. I’ll certainly be checking it out someday.