Movie Review #336: Les Misérables (2012)

Great performances save this rather mounted film

Apart from the singing, sound mixing, some strong performances and beautiful costume designs, there isn’t really anything to point out that’s different from or better than the 1998 version. Except with Anne Hathaway (Fantine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius), I never felt a strong connection with the other major characters, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. In fact I thought the supporting cast of Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and the kid Daniel Huttlestone outshined them despite their shorter air times. But the huge number of cast members mentioned above only goes to show that they were huge factors in making the film more entertaining and less boring than what it could have been.

Director Tom Hooper made some wise decisions to be able to pull off a musical movie without making the set seem too stagey. However, there were definitely times where it distracted me a bit and it weakened the believability of the film. Where he fails more though, is in keeping the momentum midway. After Hathaway belches out “I Dreamed a Dream”, my interest in the film dwindled more and more. None of the remaining scenes save the supporting cast’s defining moments were able to keep me glued. The film may have been difficult to pull off, but that doesn’t excuse it from being artificial and climaxing way too early. It’s a long, flawed, yet painstakingly well-made movie. Not my favorite version of Les Misérables, but still good enough to enjoy.

GRADE: B-

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