Movie Review – Les Miserables

WARNING: Spoilers. There are small plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)



IMDB Rating: 8.2/10 (30,323 votes)

Director: Tom Hooper

A poster for Les Miserables.

A poster for Les Miserables.

Let me just say, for the record, I have not seen the play, so I won’t care to comment on how good an adaptation it is. I will only comment on the logistics of the film, and basically, whether I liked it or not.


I have heard many people claim this film to be “brilliant”, “entertaining” and “a joy”. But to me, Les Miserables is one of the big disappointments of 2012/13.

The beginning of the film was actually very cool. I loved the view as the screen flew over the ship and down to the ground, where the convicts pulled. The song – oddly titled “Work Song” – was ruggedly sung, and for now all was good. I found Hugh Jackman’s beard annoying, but that shouldn’t take anything away from what was a fantastic performance on his part.

Not long after, we met Fantine – basically, Anne Hathaway minus attractiveness. Well, turns out I didn’t mind at all how she looked, because Hathaway absolutely belted this one out of the park. Her performance was so mature and real. I was shocked when she got killed. The thoughts running through my head were mostly thoughts of despair. Where will the story go from here? Will the story improve now that Fantine is dead?

The answer was unfortunately no. It got worse. It got itself in a mess not even Helena Bonham Carter (one of my favourite actresses) and Sacha Baron Cohen could clean up.

I don’t want to be harsh, but Russell Crowe can’t sing. His acting in the film was absolutely fantastic. But his voice was far too one-dimensional and flat for my liking. Crowe himself even commented on his voice over Twitter, saying:

(In response to Adam Lambert who was not a fan of the singing–taken from “@RussellCrowe – I don’t disagree with Adam, sure it could have been sweetened, Hooper wanted it raw and real, that’s how it is.” The article on the feud can be found here.

Russell Crowe as Javert in Les Miserables.

Russell Crowe as Javert in Les Miserables.

If Les Miserables really lacked something basic, it was a map. No, I don’t mean a map that Javert carries around with him in his back pocket as a good luck charm. I mean a map that explains where everything is going on. For a lot of the time, I was confused about where this was in relation to that. Was it set in Paris? Or was it set somewhere in France? (Far too casual if this is the case). And you’d think, with all the moving around that happens – particularly with Jean Valjean – that I’d know where he’s going, how long it takes to get there or whether he was in a city, town or in the countryside!

I think it’s fair to say the main event in this film was the Revolution, which meant the introduction of Marius (Eddie Redmayne), or as I like to call him, Shakes. Did anyone notice whenever he sung, he had to shake his head? What was that? Is he being continually tazered? And the fact that the main thing in the movie came nearly half-way through didn’t ease my pain.

So, in the end, all the revolutionites die, except for Marius. I’m sorry…did I say in the end? Well, I thought it would’ve been the end, but apparently there was 40 more minutes of singing left in store. That was probably the worst thing about this movie. The ending was so long! I’m pretty sure I could’ve walked from Melbourne to Sydney and the movie wouldn’t have finished yet.

Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) in Les Miserables. Gee, this kid was fantastic.

Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) in Les Miserables. Gee, this kid was fantastic.

One more tiny thing that annoyed me was the time jumps. Not only were there one too many, but there wasn’t enough time between the jumps. I was just getting into the movie and then BAM! Just like that, we’re 8 years ahead and I’m losing total interest.

Despite all the points I’ve made above, I must say Hugh Jackman‘s performance could easily be the best of the year. I might put money on him to win Best Actor at the Oscars. His power & presence on screen was fantastic. His voice is rugged and coarse; powerful, if you will. He’s just so talented. I’m glad for Hugh that he got this gig, because he nailed it.

The direction of this movie was seamless. The camerawork was absolutely fantastic. Some of the shots were breathtaking. The cinematography was great. It all looked pretty damn good.

Les Mis could’ve been something great. It had me excited when I first saw the trailer. But ultimately, all the singing just got to me. This was not my cup of tea.

Très moyen.

MY RATING: 4 out of 10.

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2 responses to “Movie Review – Les Miserables

  1. A nice read. Very well written.

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