Movie Review: Les Misérables (2012)

les miserables 2012 film large movie poster

Rated: Unrated
Genre: Musical drama
Running Time: 160 minutes
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter

Synopsis: “An adaptation of the successful stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel set in 19th-century France, in which a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean seeks redemption” (UIP).

Verdict: Many might feel this film is little too long (2 hours 40 minutes)… but the truth is it’s way too short. It only feels long because this adaptation does not do the original novel enough justice. Very strong acting and singing performance by most of the actors, particularly Anne Hathaway, who probably deserves a Best Supporting Actress Award nomination in the coming Oscars. Russell Crowe is, perhaps, the only odd one in the picture. But all that don’t matter because the film itself is just too rushed. Especially Act 1 (before the war), which fails MISERABLY to develop protagonist Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and antagonist Javert (Crowe). And the music, too, becomes annoying when there’s never a break in between songs, seemingly forcing every number into the movie without space given for viewers to process the tragedies and be engaged emotionally. In short, I just didn’t feel it. Maybe the real deal stage musical is way better, or maybe Les Misérables was never meant to be a musical.

Second opinion: “Too long, too draggy; at times when I felt like crying, it just moved on to the next scene too quickly” (Iris Loong).

How to pronounce Les Miserables in French? Lay Mee-say-har-bla.

Best scene: Anne Hathaway‘s powerful “I Dreamed A Dream” performance as Fantine. This is the only scene in the entire film that I was moved and completely impressed with. I’m sure the musical critics and Susan Boyle (who sang her own interpretation of the song that made her a star today) would agree that even though the film sucks, nothing should be taken away from Hathaway’s brilliant performance. She killed it.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Les Miserables 1998 vs 2012 Hugh Jackman Liam Neeson Jean Valjean

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  1. Eric Lee Huangshi

    Anna Hathaway's performance definitely deserves a nomition for Oscar. Probably one of the best supporting actress I had seen this whole year with a fantastic rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. All the actors and actresses put up a powerful display of emotions. BUT, that didn't save the movie from being suck to me.

    The whole shit was so rushed, I'm like watching a fast forwarding movie the whole time. The movie felt TOO LONG and DRAGGY is not only due to the fact it didn't stay true to the original, but is their monotonous script. The idea was good but the continuation of a song without any real breaks in between had made it such a boring movie. So many of the tune were used over and over and over AND OVER again with only a change of lyrics. It is awful. I rather listen to them talk than this. Not to mention how forced were some lines that it causes me to unable to take the movie seriously. They trying to sing every single damn line regardless how unsuitable the lines were. It puts me to sleep so often that I lost count. Probably due to the fact that I didn't slept for 48 hours as well but I got bored as soon as Anne's song finished. They placed a powerful performance in the beginning but with only mediocre and repetitive singing to fill out the movie had turn it to a boring and draggy movie all over. I don't believe most people have enough time to sink in some emotional scenes before being led to another. I do agree Russell Crowe was the odd one out as well.

  2. Nana Eddy

    It's too short and too rushed.
    I have heard the Broadway version of singing,
    the only voice that impressed me was Marius's. All the other male character singing can't even compare. Russell is the worst. he's could not capture the anger and the uptightness of Javier. He doesn't even have presence. Not even in acting.

    Jean was better. although his singing can't compare to those on Broadway, but Hugh is definitely an awesome actor. So very heartfelt and touching, despite the rushed scenes.

    i have so much more to comment, I should write a blog about it. oh wait, Ok, I will. Give me another day! heheh

  3. Eric Lee Huangshi

    Owh just in case someone misunderstand me by saying I contradicts myself. I said the movie FELT too long and draggy. Not the movie is too long and draggy. It just causes people to think the movie is long and draggy

  4. Post

    @KianFai Then you're just another fanboy who likes an actress regardless of her performance.

    @EricLee Haha, actually Iris' "second opinion" is more contradicting. However, we cannot criticise the music because it was probably the original composition of the actual musical. The lyrics sound weird to you probably because the original lyrics were in French.

    @NanaEddy I wasn't surprised with Hugh Jackman's great performance because I know his musical background. Anne Hathaway's a pure talent and beauty. Russell Crowe is a great actor, but just not for a musical like this. Javert requires someone less cool to take the role.

  5. missyblurkit

    Absolutely loved the musical. Catching it again next week.

    For a musical not recorded in the studios, this is a brilliant take by the actors and actresses alike. Everyone sings at their natural best rather than the usual studio edits that we are too accustomed too.

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