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Dec. 26, 2012

"Les Miz" breaks the show biz

by Aanchal Johri, Online Editor-in-Chief
Just when you thought Les Miserables couldn't get more perfect in Blair drama teacher Kelly O' Connor's vision of the classical French novel, director Tom Hooper's version sets the bar even higher. With acclaimed actors conversing in rhyming melodies, heroic acts sweeping through tragic episodes and a historical revolution coming alive in front of the audience, Les MisÚrables, one of the most anticipated movies of 2012, exceeds all of its expectations.

Les Miserables

(released December 25, 2012)
Musical masterpiece "Les Miserables" breaks box-office totals. 
Courtesy of Awards Circuit
Chips Rating:
4.5 stars

User Rating:
3 stars Votes: 6
Musical masterpiece "Les Miserables" breaks box-office totals.
The plot revolves around Inspector Javert's (Russell Crowe) pursuit of escaped prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). Meanwhile, altruistic Valjean cares for Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), the illegitimate daughter of sickly, impoverished Fantine (Anne Hathaway). The beginning of the movie is serious and disconcerting, but the gravity of the situation lifts once the Thenardiers, two jokesters who periodically show up to liven up the plot, sing "Master of the House." The movie then fast forwards to the thickening French June Rebellion of 1832, which introduces heroic characters such as student revolutionary Marcius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne). Though the plot focuses on the inner struggle of Valjean seeking redemption, the movie depicts the broader problems in the aftermath of the French Revolution, such as political struggle and revenge. Every aspect of the movie, from the heart-wrenching solos to the candid acting, speaks of the real life issues faced when in poverty or in love.

Thanks to the grandiose stage sets and theatrical props, the complex plot is relatively easy for the audience to follow. The movie garners the feel of an authentic play, as the entire dialogue is sung rather than spoken. Remarkably, the actors take on their roles completely, as they sing for the characters they play; there is no lip-syncing to other singers and no mouthing to pre-recorded tracks. Even with little background music, the actors due a tremendous job of evoking emotion into their songs. Hathaway's highly commendable rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" is arguably the most endearing part of the film, as her facial expressions and voice beg the audience to sympathize with her poverty-stricken situation.

Crowe's deep commanding voice juxtaposed with Hathaway's high, pleading voice surrender the melancholy tone of the movie. Those who have seen other adaptions of the play or have read Victor Hugo's original "Les Miserables" play will be pleased to see how remarkably the actors match the characters they play. For example, the younger Cosette (Isabelle Allen) almost identically resembles the young girl on the cover of Hugo's original novel and her voice corresponds to the doleful, ill-treated girl. Crowe, who has led many other Hollywood hits such as "A Beautiful Mind," stars as the solemn lead role again while Seyfried takes on her typical angelic role as a gentle young woman. Other major actors in the movie did a fine job of transforming their roles. To morph from the cunning Cat Woman in "The Dark Knight Rises" to a destitute single mother, Hathaway had to shave her head and adopt a dried oatmeal paste diet in order to lose 25 pounds . Hugh Jackman, best known for his role as the fierce Wolverine, transforms into a down-to-earth fatherly figure.

Without the use of 3D animation, the movie reels the reader into the post-Revolution French world using genuine-looking sets and costumes for over 4000 characters . The frivolous costumes of the Thernadiers, along with their outlandishly-styled hair, add humor to the sullen, stiff military uniform worn by Javert. The dark imagery is becoming to the recurring themes of pain and suffering.

Though the movie borders on the edge of the being too long, there's not a minute that goes too slowly in the movie. The movie can get to be endearingly tearful to watch at times, but its overall message inks a warm feeling, perfectly in time for the holidays.

"Come with me where chains will never bind you. All your grief, at last, at last behind you."

"Les MisÚrables" (158 minutes) is rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements. Now playing at theaters everywhere. 3D and IMAX 3D at selected theaters.



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  • Anonymous on December 27, 2012 at 12:32 AM
    What a beautifully well written article. I think the length of this article is perfect and everything is written in an eloquent way. I really had no intention of watching this movie, but I think now I will. Aanchal, I don't know you but keep up the great work!!
  • Sandhya :) (View Email) on December 27, 2012 at 12:35 AM
    YEAH YOU GO GIRL :D jk why didn't you wait to watch this movie with me? either way, you rock:)
    SIDE NOTE THIS "CAPTCHA" THING AT THE BOTTOM IS NOT FRIENDLY AT ALL, i had to write this comment like 11 times before it worked
  • Aishwariya (View Email) on December 27, 2012 at 2:33 AM
    Very well written review!! Makes me want to go see the movie so badly! I'm so excited :)
  • Anonymous on December 27, 2012 at 5:16 PM
    Where does the quote at the end come from?
    "Come with me where chains will never bind you. All your grief, at last, at last behind you."
    • Anonymous on December 29, 2012 at 9:19 PM
      Finale song.
  • Anon on December 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM
    Totally agree. Great article Aanchal!
  • Anonymous on January 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM
    AANCHAL THIS IS WONDERFUL!
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