Les Misérables (2012)

21 Jan

Les Miserables

Perhaps I have misjudged this film entirely and what you are about to read is the work of an uneducated pleb; but despite the hype and hullabaloo surrounding the recent release of Les Misérables, I am sorry to say that I just didn’t get it.

The first issue I had with Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables was its disjointed cinematography, which at best lacked imagination and at worst was downright boring. Close-ups were laid on thick and fast, supposedly to create greater emotional depth, but in the end they simply became tedious and noticeable, drawing the viewer out of the story world. It also appeared that Hooper forgot he was directing a film adaptation of the famed story and not a stage show; though musical it may be, the constant singing became almost comical after a while, and a more distinct separation between song and dialogue would have been beneficial. And while the story is a difficult one to work with, the plot could have been better laid out; the segments were somewhat disjointed and there was no clear build-up to the final climax, leaving me on several occasions wishing the film would hurry up and get to the point.

In saying that, the film does have many merits. Such a star-studded cast promised to present us with some stellar performances and it was a promise that was certainly kept. Hugh Jackman breathed life into each stage of Jean Valjean’s journey with ease, and the Sacha Baron Cohen/Helena Bonham Carter pairing was nothing short of superb, reminiscent of another musical collaboration the pair were involved in, Sweeney Todd. Fresh young faces Isabelle Allen (the child Cosette, later played by Amanda Seyfried) and Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) also went above and beyond in their accurate but never-soppy portrayal of impoverished, forgotten children, and (even) Anne Hathaway turned in a believable and emotional rendition of I Dreamed A Dream. The costumes and sets were also fantastic, but unfortunately my compliments end there.

In short, Les Misérables is a good film, not a great film. It’s worth a look, but don’t get your hopes as high as the media frenzy would like them to be or you may be disappointed.

 

By Nastassja Shepphard-Larsen

 

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