Les Miserables: "Now Life Has Killed The Dream I Dreamed"

Director: Tom Hooper
Writer:     Alain Boublil
                 Claude-Michel Schonberg
Starring: Hugh Jackman
                Russell Crowe
                Anne Hathaway
                Amanda Seyfried
                Eddie Redmayne
                Samantha Barks
                Aaron Tveit
                Helena Bonham Carter
                Sacha Baron Cohen
                Colm Wilkinson
                Isabelle Allen 
                Daniel Huttlestone
Rating:    *****

Release Date: Out Now

Les Miserables, the longest running musical in the World, a show that many have dreamed would be turned into a film, many have feared it, and some still are against it. I, for one, have dreamt of this happening; but nothing in my wildest dreams could have conjured a piece of cinematic perfection as this film is.

Hugh Jackman
Jean Valjean (Jackman) is a prisoner serving his time and on the last legs of life; as he is released on parole and tries to redeem himself for the future, he soon realises that life will never be simple again. With the determined officer Javert (Crowe) constantly on his tail, chasing him down for breaking parole, Valjean must deal with his past on a daily basis. Beneath his hard exterior there is a vulnerability and gentleness about the man; something we see when he promises to help the kind-hearted Fantine (Hathaway). Fantine is a factory worker using all her earnings to save her daughter Cosette, who is living with a pair of crooks, The Thenardiers (Bonham Carter & Baron Cohen). She becomes a prostitute, sells her hair and teeth, and eventually becomes too ill to function; it is here where Valjean swoops in and grants her dying wish, he saves Cosette and raises her as his own.

Nine years later and we are in the middle of a revolution, as the poor people of France are trying to bring down the current king. The Thenardiers; their daughter Eponine (Barks); students Marius and Enjolras (Redmayne & Tveit); and the young dreamer Gavroche (Huttlestone) are amongst the revolution and all fight till the end for what they believe in. Marius soon falls in love with Cosette (Seyfried), and as their love blooms, Eponine watches on as the man she loves drifts further away. As the fight battles on, and friends are dying all around, Valjean must decide what is the right thing for him to do, and how to provide a better life for Cosette; to carry on running with her away from Javert, or leave her behind to live alone.

Anne Hathaway
This truly is a magical and astounding piece of cinema. The direction by Hooper is astounding, he brings a genuine realism to the proceedings; the way he films some of the solos, never leaving their face, so every drop of emotion is caught, it truly is breath-taking. I have watched many movie musicals, from classics like Singing in the Rain, to the recent smash Mamma Mia; but this is the first where I have truly listened to the lyrics and have almost not even noticed they are singing. Part of this is down to the cast singing live on set, it allows the incredible actors to really act the songs, and provides real depth and meaning to the words they sing. 

Jackman is superb as the prisoner Valjean, and he gives everything he has into this role, there is not a single emotion he doesn't pour out on the screen, and I commend him for this. For me though, the film is taken to a new stratosphere by the phenomenal Anne Hathaway, I have never seen a performance like this given by her, and when she sings 'I Dreamed a Dream' there was not a dry eye in the theatre. She only appears for about 15 minutes in the whole film, but for the 15 minutes she is on, she is the only person I was watching; her performance is one that will go down in history, and I will be very surprised if she, Jackman and the whole film don't demolish this current award season.

 Les Miserables - Trailer