Flash Movie Review: Les Miserables

The stage musical of Les Miserables is one of my favorite shows, having seen it three times. It has one of the best musical scores I have ever heard besides incredible set designs. At least the productions I have seen. The story set in the 1800’s in France, revolved around the life long pursuit by police officer Javert of Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who broke parole. There were so many different aspects of the story to hook in the viewer; from redemption and unconditional love to salvation and honor. Everything I loved about the stage show was abused in this film version. While watching this 2 hour and 37 minute movie, I felt the director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Red Dust) sucked the life out of this classic tale. As much as I was impressed with his Oscar winning film The King’s Speech, I was disappointed in this ugly movie. The reason I use the word ugly is because the majority of the scenes looked like they were shot with camera lenses stuck in portrait mode. Constantly seeing angled shots of the actors’ faces quickly became a bore. Then there was the quick cutting from shot to shot, along with using a spiraling camera shoot on actors and buildings, that made me slightly nauseous. Shame on Mr. Hooper; it would have been easy to add drama to the scene if we could have seen some of the body language of the actors. Hugh Jackman (Real Steel, X-Men franchise) who I normally enjoy, had something wrong here as Jean Valjean. While every actor singing had a mellowness to their voice, it seemed as Hugh was forced to sing in a higher key. His voice was shrill and grating on my ears. Russell Crowe (Gladitor, A Beautiful Mind) as Javert did an admirable job with his singing. Playing factory worker Fantine, it seemed as if Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) knew she had one chance to make the Oscar voters notice, giving it her all to her song performance. I will say she did a great job. The surprise for me was Eddie Redmayne (My Week With Marilyn, The Other Boleyn Girl) as Marius. I had no idea he could sing and do it so well. Sacha Baron Cohen (Hugo, The Dictator) and Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows) were comic relief as the crooked innkeeper and his wife. I knew I was going to witness misery in this movie; I just did not realize it would be my own over this poorly done film.


2 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on December 25, 2012, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Wow. The reviews for this one are really all over the place.

    I’ll be watching it this weekend, and then the stage show within a month. I’ll be writing a comparison of the two after.

    Thanks for the review. I’m really curious to see what I think of this one.

  2. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it. As a big fan of the stage show, I know you’ll be very disappointed not to have loved it. I’ll definitely be checking this out but the reviews haven’t been overly positive so my expectations will be lowered slightly.

    • It was a real shame and today I heard Hugh Jackman mentioned the key was set too high for him. I look forward to hearing your take on the movie.

    • How cool you have the opportunity to compare the movie to the stage show. I am already excited to see what your review will be for them.

    • I cannot wait to see what you say about this movie. I’m still upset from it, playing the live stage show cast album to comfort myself.

      • Haha, I really hope it’s not that bad! We don’t get it until mid January so I won’t be checking it out until then but you can guarantee i’ll be jotting my thoughts down after that. I’ve heard some more positive reviews recently which has eased my trepidation slightly, so we’ll just have to see what it brings!

  3. I happen to agree with everything your wrote! I was so excited to see the movie and I
    didn’t care what the reviews were. I have to say they all were right! Les Mis is my all time
    favorite stage show and I too have seen it many times. The movie was way too long and
    some of the scenes needed to be shortened. I think the director fell in love with the images
    he was creating. Didn’t work for me!!!!

  4. petit4chocolatier

    I have heard so many different reviews that I am hesitant on seeing it now.

  5. I haven’t seen the movie but your review confirms my suspicions about it.

  6. Wow we do have an opposite take at least on the movie version. Like you I’ve seen the stage production several times. Everything you disliked in the film version I said in my review I liked and even went opposite re Crowe’s singing that I didn’t think was much to crow about. I deliberately didn’t read reviews prior to writing so your take is a big surprise. Still I enjoyed reading it. Funny enough Redmayne is not his real name as his real name was already a stage name of another actor. He is someone to keep eye on.

    • Thanks for your comments; you are the yin to my yang. If they ever revive the Siskel & Ebert show, it would be an honor to be a judge with you. I enjoy seeing and hearing the reviews of others. Happy Oscar season.

      • Wow bringing us up in their company is an honour. I was thinking more Waldorf and the other cranky guy from the Muppets LOL. Lets see what Oscar brings or at least the Golden Globes.

  7. What a shame! This ought to be a fabulous film – i loved the book. What a story!!! (I’ll wait for dvd)

  8. Loved the movie loved the set loved the characters~ love the story of Grace. Thought it was Fabulously done. My desire to see the live performance has been kindled, which may eventually impact my perception of the movie but for now, thumbs up.

  9. Thanks for visiting my site. And thanks for these interesting and helpful reviews. I like the way you give them a personal connection.

  10. Susan Boyle really knocked everyone’s socks off with her song rendition, eh ?

  11. The lady wants to see Les Miz, this weekend, so im stuck.
    Perhaps, it’s more of a chick flick?

  12. I hated the stage version, so as much as I like Hugh Jackman I think I will give this a miss.

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