Les Misérables


lesmiserablesFrance, 1815; Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who’s spent 19 years in jail for stealing bread, is released and starts a new life… but his nemesis in prison, Javert (Russell Crowe), won’t leave him alone. The first major screen version of the hit musical is primarily for buffs; with almost no spoken dialogue, this exhausting epic will test anyone else’s patience. Still, it’s hard to take one’s eyes away from the opulent production, recreating 19th-century working-class France with all its glorious filth, misery – and anger. There is immense passion on display, including Anne Hathaway’s stunning performance of “I Dreamed a Dream”, caught in close-up by Tom Hooper’s team. 

2012-U.S.-Britain. 158 min. Color. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh. Directed by Tom Hooper. Screenplay: William Nicholson. Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil. Novel: Victor Hugo. Cinematography: Danny Cohen. Songs: Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer (“I Dreamed a Dream”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, “One Day More”, “Suddenly”). Production Design: Eve Stewart. Costume Design: Paco Delgado. Cast: Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen… Eddie Redmayne.

Trivia: Paul Bettany, Geoffrey Rush and Marion Cotillard were allegedly considered for roles.

Oscars: Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway), Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound Mixing. Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical), Actor (Jackman), Supporting Actress (Hathaway). BAFTA: Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway), Production Design, Sound, Make-up & Hair.

Last word: “I made it clear that I wouldn’t do the film unless I did it live. That was my level of belief that live singing was the way to go for this particular story. It came out of a lot of thinking about the musical form, partly it was personal, but even in the great musicals I have to get over the lip-syncing issue; I have to forgive the lip syncing issue. I feel a slight feeling of embarrassment when people lip-sync unless it’s done absolutely perfectly. And I didn’t want any of that falsity in this film. I wanted it to be very real. I also kept thinking that if this is a world like ours but where people communicate through song, then why wouldn’t you record the singing like you would record dialogue? Why would it be different?” (Hooper, Collider)

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