Friday, January 11, 2013

LES MISERABLES (the movie) | REVIEW


My Review

Followers, friends, and fellow Oscar aficionados, it is time to get Oscar season on Imaginative Adventure started! 

As you may or may not know, I LOVE the Academy Awards. For those who are often confused, the Academy Awards and Oscars are the same show. One wins an OSCAR at the ACADEMY AWARDS. It is a film exclusive production, highlighting and awarding some of the best movies of the year (2012). And it is my favorite award show. 

For the past few years, I've hosted an Academy Awards party where I have a few people over, make decadent hors d'oeuvres, and provide a ballot for everyone to participate in the show. For me however, it is more than one night of entertainment, it is a month long journey through the nominees. 

So, without further ado, my thoughts, reflections and predictions for the film...

 LES MISERABLES


LES MISERABLES
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samantha Barks, Daniel Huttlestone, and Isabelle Allen. 

NOMINATIONS:
BEST PICTURE
ACTOR | IN A LEADING ROLE - Hugh Jackman
ACTRESS | IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - Anne Hathaway 
COSTUME DESIGN
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
MUSIC | ORIGINAL SONG - Suddenly - music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
PRODUCTION DESIGN
SOUND MIXING

Before seeing this movie, I was already a huge fan of the music and the story. Thus, I put a huge amount of pressure and expectation on this film. And when I have high expectations, I am often very hard to please. I have one complaint about this movie. And that is that it is TOO AMAZING. I have already seen it twice and feel as though I could go watch it a hundred more times. 

So a little background about my personal tastes before proceeding with the review. I love musicals. I love France. I love cute little children who sing. And I love Hugh Jackman. 

I've seen Les Miserables on Broadway and in one of the best high school productions probably ever made (Dawson Boyd High School - my review here), which I saw two times live and umpteen times on recording. Suffices to say that I knew the story and just about every lyric in the entire musical. So going into this movie, I felt like I knew Les Mis. 

Turns out what I thought I knew, only scratched the surface. This story is so rich, heavy, and absolutely breathtaking. In a movie that is only sung with no dialogue, I was afraid that it might be hard to follow. The cast does an impeccable job at clearly singing their lines, at putting the perfect facial expression, and just pulling us into the scenes. I realized subtle aspects that I had not noticed before, just little things that made the movie that much richer. 

Les Miserables is the story of a man named Jean Valjean. He is released on parole after 19 years in chains for stealing a loaf of bread. As an ex-convict, the world has it out for him. He is turned away by everyone until a kindly bishop invites him in his house. But with the lashes still fresh on his back, Valjean is a hardened man who thanks his host by stealing his silver. He is caught and brought back to the bishop's house. Instead of having Valjean returned to the chains, he says that indeed he has given him his silver. He tells Valjean to take it and make an honest man out of himself. The Bishop and God grant Valjean another chance. 

The rest of the story is a juxtaposition of misery and redemption. Depicting this beautiful story that even in a dark world, if we have love, we can also have light, hope and faith. 

The cast does an amazing job. Some complaints by others are that the voices aren't as strong as broadway productions. I beg to differ. They possess an entirely different strength. A rawness that isn't meant to blow us away with their high octaves but to grab hold of our hearts with the sorrow and joy they sing with. Many songs are sung with gasps and tears forcing all of the audience to weep along with them.


I could rave about this film forever. But all that really needs to be said is see it for yourself. Experience it. And see the beauty of the story that is Les Miserables. 

Predictions:
Hugh Jackman does an amazing job, but I don't think he will take the win. However, I think it would be a tragedy if Anne Hathway doesn't win for supporting actress. Her song, I Dreamed a Dream, was filmed in one straight take. It is as ugly as it is beautiful. I hope it wins for original song, Suddenly. Just because I think somehow this film needs to be recognized for the brilliant music. 

Best Picture? As this is the only nominee I've seen thus far, I can't truthfully say. But, if I were to guess, probably no but an amazing movie nonetheless. Certainly worthy of its nominations. And most likely will be my favorite movie for a very, very long time.




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