Set against the backdrop of post-Revolution nineteenth-century France, Les Misérables is an epic musical featuring a set of A-list actors, among them Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. Nominated for four Golden Globe awards, the musical is definitely a contender for just as many, if not more, Oscars.
The film centers on the life of Jean Valjean (Jackman), a man serving a nineteen-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s child. After Valjean is granted parole, he is taken in by a kind bishop who supports and forgives him despite the former’s theft of valuable church items. As Valjean prospers, he still manages to attract problems and the renewed scrutiny of his former jailer (Crowe). Unable to save the persecuted prostitute Fantine (Hathaway), Valjean resolves to provide for her daughter Cosette, played by Isabelle Allen and later, Amanda Seyfried.
Director Tom Hooper’s decision to have the actors sing live on stage was an excellent one. So many wonderful and memorable numbers…
During the opening scene, the convicts sing “Look down, look down, you’ll always be a slave” while hauling a huge, battered ship into dry-dock under the watchful eye of Javert as he sings “Do not forget me, 24601” to Valjean.
Hathaway’s take on “I Dreamed a Dream” is one of the film’s show-stopping events.
The corrupt innkeepers played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter provide comic relief in their rendition of “Master of the House.”
Later, their daughter Eponine (Samantha Parks) beautifully sings “On My Own” when she discovers that her love interest Marius (Eddie Redmayne) yearns for Cosette.
An excellent holiday film!