Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements
Released in Theaters: Dec. 25, 2012
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance, Based on a Book
Runtime: 157 minutes
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Isabelle Allen, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks
Official Site: Les Misérables
When I saw the cast of Les Misérables, my first thought was, “Who’s going to win the sing-off between Wolverine, Gladiator and the Princess Diaries princess?”
As I was watching the movie in a packed theatre at 9 a.m. on Christmas Day, I was still wondering the same thing as I watched Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. The star power in the film took away from the musical, in my opinion.
Overall, the film sticks close to the musical except for the addition of a new song, “Suddenly” sung by Hugh Jackman. Probably added in only so the film can have eligibility in the Original Song category at the Oscars.
With all the star power, it was nice to see Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean in the theatrical production, make a cameo as the bishop who saves Jackman’s Valjean from a criminal fate. Also nice to see theatre’s Samantha Barks as Eponine instead of the rumored Taylor Swift. Eponine’s two songs “On My Own” and “A Little Fall of Rain,” are probably the most memorable of the entire musical. At least, they’ve always been my favorites along with “Red and Black.”
I wasn’t too keen on Jackman’s singing voice; it was a little too nasally for my taste. Even though I’ve seen Amanda Seyfried in Mamma Mia!, I was pleasantly surprised at her singing voice as Cosette in the film. Or perhaps I was surprised because I was too distracted by Pierce Brosnan’s bad singing in Mamma Mia! to notice Seyfried’s. Russell Crowe’s voice was surprisingly tender and miscast for Javert, who should have strong — even brutal — vocals.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter offered some comic relief as the Thénardiers, but not as much as they could have. I also took issue with the cinematography. If it wasn’t a wide shot, it was an extreme close-up. Nothing in between.
There’s already Oscar buzz for Anne Hathaway, even going so far as to say she’s a sure win, but I’m not convinced. Sure, she cries while she sings with her pouty lips, and sings while she gets sheared on camera, but is it Oscar-worthy? Not really. Plus, I can’t forget her performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises this year, and how badly miscast she was in that role.
All in all, I enjoyed Les Misérables because I enjoy the musical so much. I would love to see film versions of Miss Saigon and Wicked. When are those going to happen? Who would you cast in the film version of those musicals?