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Hugh Jackman, Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway star in this critically-acclaimed adaptation of the epic musical phenomenon. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the story of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean (Jackman), hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe), after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. This enthralling story is a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit and "an unforgettable experience" (Richard Roeper, RichardRoeper.com).
DVD - Region 1; Blu-ray- Region Free.
Les Misérables is a deeply powerful film that's rich with raw feeling, the grittiness of life in 19th-century France, and the conflict between right, wrong, and the concept of redemption. Les Misérables takes viewers on an emotionally exhausting journey as it follows ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) after his release from prison. Valjean breaks parole, but he is granted a second chance by a kind bishop. He then moves from place to place throughout France, trying to live an honest life while ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) hunts him relentlessly. Valjean meets the broken-spirited Fantine (Anne Hathaway), promises to care for her daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) as Fantine is about to die, and finds his own life completely changed as a result of that promise. Like the stage play, the film is dark, gritty, and passionate, but it enhances the sense of place in early- to mid-1800s France as a staged version simply cannot. The intricately woven plot is somewhat easier to understand here, thanks to an abundance of visual cues and the camera's unique ability to focus in so closely on the actors' faces. In fact, the intimacy of the extreme close-ups used throughout is at once uncomfortable and hugely effective. The vocal performances are generally quite good, especially considering the decision to record them live versus the customary overdubbing. Sure, some of the actors' voices seem pushed and strained at times, but that fact often only adds to the emotional intensity of the moment. Hathaway's performance is stellar, both for her vocal prowess and for the depth of feeling conveyed and maintained in her facial expressions throughout even the lengthiest and closest of close-ups. While Crowe seems an odd choice for Javert and is definitely outsung by the other members of the cast, he holds his own when it really counts with solos that are on-pitch and arguably even more powerful for their imperfections. Discerning listeners will not choose the film's Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack over the full-length London or Broadway cast recordings, but sometimes an outstanding performance isn't all about musical perfection--the overall Les Misérables film experience is definitely one of those cases. New for the film is the song "Suddenly," written by the musical's original composer and lyricist Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. Trivia buffs will note that the bishop is played by Colm Wilkinson, who originally played Valjean in the London and Broadway stage productions, and Whore #1 is played by the original London and Broadway Eponine, Frances Ruffelle. --Tami Horiuchi
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If you're a staunch fan of the live musical, you're not going to be happy about the abridgements made in some of the most popular songs. Additionally, there are deviations from the stage version that are apparently more faithful to the original novel but potentially a little unnerving. If you're a 'light fan' you may not even notice these changes and may frankly thank them for keeping the length manageable.
I was personally blown away by Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman in both their singing and performance - clearly stand out, Oscar-winning performances if ever they were any. Nerds were not convinced that these were the best Fantine and Valjean compared to the London and New York stage versions to which I shake my head in disbelief. Seriously, both actors give everything to their parts here and carry the 'emotional necessity' of the roles perfectly. Actually, a big thumbs up to the make up for both characters too - they look truly beaten down.
I'd heard that Russell Crowe was a disaster and he was - partly because the other singers are in a different league. Since the entire film was performed live to camera (rather than recorded and lip-sync'd), he clearly struggles and there's no post production on the sound to hide it. But the big shocker is Amanda Seyfried who sings her little heart out in Mamma Mia but crashes and burns with a warbly, kind-of-operatic Cosette.
On a technical note, although the sets were excellent, the connecting CGI was dreadful - watching the opening scene with 50 real people in real water tugging a large fake boat wasn't a great way to open. It's a shame since the rest of the scene was really great. Additionally, the camerawork is fairly sloppy throughout - the actors were allowed perform without hitting marks so occasionally the camera operators go out of their way to get them back in the frame and the focus puller is working overtime. Similarly, this causes problems with the lighting so some of the singing scenes are very dark as the camera catches up with the actor.
Overall, it's a very good adaptation with a couple of flaws but nevertheless was better than most films in 2012. It's easily accessible to those who haven't seen it before all the way up the musical groupies who critique every line of dialog.
The voices - not the recording technique. Russel Crow gets better later in the movie.
This uses a new state of the art "live while film rolls" singing technique which is a little
rough in places since the orchestra is added later. As the camera rolls they sing live to a piano
in an earpiece. Mostly, they pull that off well.
It does put a lot of strain on the orchestra later as they have to follow the mood and timing of the singer...
Mine came with a BluRay+DVD+Streaming+ a digital D/L (locked to one computer?.)
All for something I'd expect to pay for just a BluRay.
I would have liked to get the referenced "4 hour *directors* cut" version on the BluRay, but most of that was
left on the cutting room floor. I think they cut a little too close to the bone keeping it around 2 1/2 hours.
Being a movie it can be more detailed as far as different things they can do that take longer on film...
A stage version is limited to the stage and possible scene changes, the movie can explore all sorts of things.
I have also seen this subject matter live on stage.
Most recent customer reviews
talking about the story line and the songs.Read more