"Les Misérables" (2012)
After nineteen years as a prisoner, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is freed by Javert (Russell Crowe) the officer in charge of the workers in the prison. However, Jean Valjean breaks parole, though ultimately uses the money gotten for stolen silver to reinvent himself as a mayor and factory owner. Eight years later, he becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette after her mother's (Anne Hathaway) death, but Javert's relentless pursuit to bring Jean Valjean back to prison means that peace is not something to be expected any time soon.
Oh this has to be one of the most depressing film I’ve ever sat down to watch. It really is. I mean, there’s no point in sugar coating it. If there was a rotten situation possible to convey, it’s in this movie. Like...there’s a place called stop! A luxury this story does not seem to avail of. It’s just one bad thing after another. (The hint is in the title, so you needn’t be too disapointed by this “spoiler”!) That being said however, there’s no denying it is an impressively made movie.
I both love and hate the oopening scene. I hate it for the subject matter it’s representing, just because, well...I don’t like that kind of thing, personally! But there is something very impressive about it. The cinematography. I like the song too. It’s very quiet as the scene is set with the date and brief explanation. The image of a flag in water is shown in the background. Then suddenly there’s a temendous umph given to the scene as the music kicks into action and we’re taken towards this big ship in these horrible weather conditions. – The music is fantastic, it makes it quite exciting and causes the audience to hop to attention! Then these men are seen pulling this rope and water absolutely pouring down on top of them. I love the first shot we get of Javert. He is standing up high on the wall and we are looking up towards his silhouette. The shot says: He is in charge. He is the boss. And well he knows it! The subsequent shots we see of him after are all in this way, emphasising this point further. There’s also a brilliant shot that’s zoomed out so we can see just how many men are actually pulling ropes to get this big ship. The music dies down a little quieter as Jean Valjean is told to retrieve the flag, but then it starts up again as he begins to lift it, both emphasising the struggle it is for him to lift it, and the importance of this moment as it will come into play again later. And I actually like the shot of the flag being dragged through the water.
I think it’s Anne Hathaway’s scenes that are the most harrowing of the whole film...even though she’s not actually in it for very long. They’re quite hard to watch. I didn’t like them at all the first time I watched them and was wondering in the cinema what I’d gotten myself into, not really knowing much about the film prior. I thought her performance of “I Dreamed A Dream” was brilliant. The fact that the entirity of the song is sung in a close up to her face makes the scene more powerful. Her acting is quite amazing. So much emotion.
All the characters have their own specific storyline, personalities, things to overcome throughout the film and I like that. Eddie Redmayne is of course really good as Marius, and Samantha Banks as Éponine, Amanda Seyfried as Cossette and of course I can’t not point out the larger than life character, Gavroche played by Daniel Huttlestone! The cast is great!
Of course, this is a musical (needless to say) but what’s particularly special about this particular musical is the fact the entirity of the film is sung! I think you could count on one hand the amount of words that are just spoken within the two hours. The most powerful song in the film, aside from “I Dreamed A Dream” is probably “Do You Hear The People Sing”. The lyrics are very strong.
I was suprised I didn’t cry watching this film (mainly because I cry for a lot of films) – at least, that is, until the end. It was the ending scene that got me and I remember I was fighting tears in the cinema and I didn’t want to cry in front of my friends, but it was a struggle! I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it. What makes it is how all those who have died throughout the film come back during this scene, sort of giving it a feeling of completeness. I can’t say satisfaction, there is nothing particularly satisfying about this film as such...It’s just really well done.
Oh this movie is just...it’s an emotional rollercoaster...True, with more downs than ups but it is, as I say, impressively made.