I have had this movie since March this year. I got it the same time I got Django Unchained and would have watched it first but I was with my Gem. The dude is a distraction during movies and so I put off watching ‘serious’ movies when we are together. That was my excuse in March. I did put it in my ‘must-watch’ list though.
In April, Django Unchained pushed les Miserable off my mind and in May I forgot about the movie that was tucked in a folder on my external hard drive.
The Oscars brought the movie to mind again, watched the awards late in August and the only thing that kept me from not deleting the movie was because of Anne Hathaway. I love her to bits and the only movie I didn’t like her in was in The Dark Knight Rises.
Now the Oscars did a musical show and loving music, I enjoyed all the performances including that of the host Seth MacFarlane especially ‘we saw your boobs’.
Anne won best supporting actress and the clip that was shown was the song ‘I dreamed a dream’. I first heard of that song when Susan Boyle sang it at the X-factor auditions in Britain. The audition was heart rending and I gave a standing ovation but little did I know that there’d be a more soulful version – Hathaway’s version.
I finally got to watch the movie Les Miserable first week of November and I must say that perhaps I put it off so long that when I finally did watch I appreciated it more than I would have seven or eight months back.
If you are not a fan of musicals perhaps you would be put off by this movie even if you were grounded by a classic movie like The Sound of Music. This is so different from the sound of music and other musicals because those other movies had a ‘song time’; this one dialogued via songs.
Les Miserable tells the story of Jean Valjean (Jack Hughman) who was released on parole by Police Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Jean had an encounter with the Bishop of Digne who after offering him food and shelter had his stuffs stolen by Jean.
Eight years later, he became a factory owner and a Mayor and has Fantine (Anne Hathaway) as one of his workers.
Fantine has a little illegitimate child whom she sends money to. She gets thrown off work without the knowledge of Jean and sells her hair, tooth and finally her body to survive the streets.
She later encounters Jean but by then it’s too late, she already had a severe case of Tuberculosis. She dies but not before she gets the promise that her daughter would be taken care of. Jean finds and takes the daughter Cossette as promised.
The increasing poverty in Paris causes a rebellion against the monarchy and one of its leaders Marius falls in love with the grown Cossette (Amanda Seyfried). This love affair has a not so serious contender in Eponine (Samantha Barks).
Jean saves Marius when all the young revolutionaries get killed. Marius marries Cossette. Jean confesses to the young couple and dies.
I just summarized a two hour plus movie into eighteen lines. It definitely was worth more than eighteen lines. The movie left me with much sorrow and chill because the people might complain about bad government and poor living conditions but only few will stand to fight a corrupt system.
The dog-eat-dog world is so true especially for the down trodden. You are more likely to be cast out and sold out by those who are down with you except maybe you all are South Americans.
Four characters stood out for me in this movie.
Fantine (Anne Hathaway): It’s no secret I love this woman/actress. I like that she puts her all in her roles. I loved the way she sang ‘Somebody to Love’ in Enchantment but ‘I dreamed a dream’ in this movie gave me goose bumps. The only song in a movie that had given me this much chills was ‘And I am telling you I’m not going’ by Jennifer Hudson. Anne sang the song with soul and sorrow. She had a short time on screen but it had the most impact.
Jean Valjean (Jack Hughman): Jack surprised me but I loved him more when he was a convict. I loved his appearance and anger attached to his convict character than when he became the Mayor and factory owner. He had the longest appearance on screen. I liked his songs ‘Valjean’s Soliloquy’ and ‘Who am I?’
Eponine (Samantha Barks): I was surprised that her character wasn’t vindictive and I was happy because it would have made an already complex plot more complicated. She had the grace and even when her love was spurned did her best and died for her lover and the cause.
Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone): A young and impressionable lad, his death was sad. A young kid who stood up for a cause he believed in even if he might not have understood all the intricacies. He rallied the young revolutionaries when they became depressed because the people had deserted them.
Those were the characters that made an impact in the movie. Javert (Russell Crowe) is a good actor but I was a bit indifferent to his act as a Police Captain, yes his act was good but his musicals were a bit stilted.
I so enjoyed the movie that I downloaded three of the tracks sung during the movie – ‘At the end of the day’; ‘I dreamed a dream’ and ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ – especially when I read that it was live singing and not lip syncing.
I was on sober reflections throughout the movie and jotted some rambling thoughts which I would post without editing; take them as the ramblings of EnoQuin.
“In the midst of misery, there will always be those who with the little they have help lift up the misery a bit.”
“Some people show kindness even to those who do not deserve the kindness.”
“There are things that make a man perpetually angry”
“Success cleans a man up. His detractors work for him because of his success and yet a man cannot drop the habits he acquired from where he came from.”
“It’s easy to allow fear push the ones that don’t obey out.”
“Truth and fact – there is always an explanation for everything as truth sometimes may not be fact and vice versa”
“Rubicon – the road that ultimately makes or mars us.”