Filmmaker Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for King’s Speech, brought gutsy filmmaking in a musical. Les Miserables is based on the 1980s musical that was adapted from Victor Hugo’s epic novel about a Paris student uprising in 1832.
Les Miserables features no spoken dialogue. Everyone in the cast sings all throughout the movie’s almost three hour runtime. Hooper made his actors sing live. They didn’t mouth the words to prerecorded songs.
The cast members wore earpieces to hear a piano and listen to the tempo. Later on, a 70 piece orchestra was added to showcase the beauty of the musical’s score. The singing sounds raw and it adds to the texture of Les Miserables.
Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean, a man who is locked up for almost 20 years for stealing a loaf of bread. He escapes from prison and tries to make a respectable life for himself as the mayor of a small town. But his past is catching up on him. Javert (Russell Crowe) is still hunting down the convict.
Valjean is almost caught while trying to help the poor Fantine (Anne Hathaway), a factory girl who sells her hair, teeth and body to support her child Cossette. Her performance in Les Miserables can earn her an Oscar award.
Valjean has to save Cossette from the Thenardiers. They are greedy innkeepers who treat the child as a slave while spoiling their own daughter Eponine. They are played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.
Now grown up, Cossette (Amanda Seyfried) is under the care of Valjean. He worries about her falling for Marius (Eddie Redmayne), who is a student rebel. Eponine (Samantha Barks) is also in love with Marius.
Les Miserables is a feast for both the eyes and ears. It has everything you want in a movie. It has hymor, action, romance, and heartbreak.