Les Misérables [DVD] 
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Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed by The King’s Speech’s Academy Award-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne.
Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption--a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, 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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
Visually the film is stunning. The plot is so strong, it disappoints (at least for a while) that the singing of the two leads is not more powerful. Anne Hathaway heartrendingly makes impact with "I Dreamed a Dream" - a raw outpouring of anguish from one now without hope. "Master of the House" proves perhaps more muted than usual - accompanying "business", although amusing, rather a distraction. "Do You Hear the People Sing?" appropriately stirs. Much in the film's later stages proves genuinely moving.
Viewers' reactions may well be determined by the route so far taken. Mine is via the original London cast album and the two lavish anniversary celebratory concert versions (the 10th one preferred because of its power, involvement and truly awesome, memorable climax). Hopes would understandably thus be high for film performances that at least matched or even surpassed those previously experienced.
Despite initial disappointments, the film offers much to applaud. In many ways it does justice to a musical so successful all over the world. The plight of the oppressed is always one that strikes a chord, stirring emotions. On stage and screen "Les Miserables" is more to experience than simply to watch - audiences often reduced to tears, emerging uplifted.
Here again many will fall under its spell.
Very good actually. Les Miserables the film is a bold and epic spectacle based around a main story lasting over most of an adult lifetime and many clever sub-plots. It has some fine performances by the main cast- Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and the award-winning Anne Hathaway - as well as fine support throughout, most notably by young Daniel Huttlestone and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the perfectly cast comedy couple. Light relief from an intricate, complicated set of stories putting the film at over two-and-a-half hours which is perhaps a little too long. Nevertheless all loose ends are tied up for a strong finale to this impressive, musical adaptation which is well worth seeing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't normally watch musicals, this is a stunning visual film as well as an amazing cast and story...Published 1 day ago by rachael
Fabulous. Tearful and long but didn't notice the time as it is so goodPublished 2 days ago by daffyduck
I loved books. Film/musical is fantastic. So many famous actors. Very emotional. Just love it.Published 6 days ago by Tuulike
Every single person needs to watch this at some point in their lives. It is an amazing film and so heartwarming. One of the best films I've ever watched.Published 8 days ago by amy morrison
One of the best films I have seen and lovely to own my own copy, to watch when I like. If you want to see a great cast with a compassion in each performance this is the film.Published 12 days ago by Tracy Barker