Les Miserables Film Review
Author(s): The Blonde and The Brunette
Editor: Melissa Martinez
Published: January 9, 2013

This 19th Century France adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel "Les Miserables" tells the story of Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean,  played by Hugh Jackman (Rise of the Guardians, 2012) who violates his parole starting a new life for himself, and then is hunted by the obsessed policeman, Russell Crowe (Man with the Iron Fist, 2012) known as Inspector Javert. Valjean befriends a starving and ill factory worker Fantine, played by Anne Hathaway (Dark Knight Rises, 2012) and agrees to raise her small daughter, Cosette, starring Amanda Seyfried (In Time, 2011). No French story is without its farcical outcast of characters. In this story, they are The'nardier played by Sacha Baron Cohen (Hugo, 2011) and Madame The'nardier played by Helena Bonham Carter (The Kings Speech, 2010).  The political uprisings in these pre French Revolutionary times provides the background for the romantic interludes between the now grown Cosette and the young rebel, Marius played by Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn, 2011).  Eponine played by Samantha Barks (Zoe on TV Groove High, 2012) is in love with Marius but fails to win him from Cosette. Enjorals played by Aaron Tveit (Premium Rush, 2012) is Marius' childhood best friend in charge of the rebels and their revolution.  What happens will change their lives forever.

The Blonde: To be perfectly honest here, I was so afraid to see this film as, Les Miserables is my favorite musical of all time. I was truly worried that, like most musicals brought to film (in my opinion), fall WAY short; such as Phantom of the Opera and Mama Mia to name just a few. The only time I was not disappointed in the past was with Evita and Chicago. However, this film adaptation of Les Miserables, was a masterpiece of brilliance and perfection brought onto the silver screen. It is truly an amazing accomplishment and deserves all the Academy Award nominations it will no doubt receive. 

The Brunette:  I was worried about being able to cope with the sadness of the story and how graphic they were going to present the misery and tragic events in the film. I was surprised that I was so enthralled from beginning to end that my worries turned out to be unwarranted.

The Blonde:  This film had me crying for 3 hours just as the stage production always does. The story itself is so beautiful with many stories tied into the main one. The sensitivity and creativity in the direction and timing was stellar and uncanny. Every actor cast as well as the performances they delivered was Oscar worthy incredible, with the exception of one actor in my opinion, which I will address later on. Each and every character in this film has their individual moments to shine and shine they did!

The Brunette:  I wouldn’t confess to crying for 3 hours as the blonde did, but I did shed a few tears here and there.

The Blonde:  Well that’s because you are as insensitive as a stone. Seriously brunette, how could you only cry a little? For goodness sake the title states, The Miserable!!!! The gorgeous music alone could make a sensitive person cry!

The Brunette:  Are you kidding me! No one around us could begin to cry because they were so upset with all the noise you made bawling and weeping for 3 hours. I almost hid under my seat with all the ‘SHHHHHHHHH’ around us and the lady 8 rows down yelling at you to shut up already. Not to mention, the two boxes of used tissues you left on the floor for the crew to pick up after you.

The Blonde:  Ouchh, you are insensitive!!! 

The Brunette:  Moving right along…I just loved how the film took us through all of life’s emotions from love, hope and sacrifice to poverty, war and hatred.

The Blonde:  Well how sensitive of you… Every song in this musical is tremendous, inspiring and memorable. There is at no time a dull moment. You will laugh, cry, feel and be lifted out of your seat with emotions. What was absolutely genius and daring of director Tom Hooper, was not recording the songs in the studio ahead of time. He allowed the actors the opportunity (never done before) of singing live to just a simple piano. Later they imbedded the orchestra’s tracks. This permitted the actors the freedom to feel the emotions in the moment. To be able to act out the songs live rather than be forced into the timing dictated by prior recordings of how they need to sing and act and pace their acting moments and voices. This form of direction was a brilliant move by Hooper that paid off stunningly and was nothing short of a miraculous concept.

The Brunette:  I completely agree with the Blonde on this. I was also, pleased to see that Hooper stayed with Herbert Kretzmer who created the show’s original music and score. In reality the real fans of this musical would have been very upset if anything was changed.

The Blonde:  Oh without a doubt. I thought the casting was perfect. Hugh Jackman was dead on in every possible way. He ‘IS’ Jean Valjean. This character had to be cast perfectly or it would have ruined everything in the film. Unfortunately, I don’t agree with the casting of Russell Crowe. He didn’t ruin the film for me as he did get the job done but, his voice lacked the luster, singing talent and control needed to put his character Javert over. He lacked the passion needed for this role; however, the rest of the cast was astonishing!

 miserables-02 miserables-03 miserables-04

The Brunette:   I, myself, was quite taken back by Anne Hathaway’s singing ability. I had no idea she has such an amazing talent. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances by Amanda and Samantha as well. 

The Blonde:  If you remember she did the Oscar ceremony a few years back with Hugh and they sang throughout the entire show. You were probably on a hot date that night! I thought Anne was perfect for the role. I like that she went for realism in her vocals instead of going for the pretty voice. She went with the true emotions of the character. Good job! She even cut off all her own hair for this role. Now what diva would ever do that instead of wearing a wig? Samantha who played Eponine was a real surprise for me. She has a long career ahead of her. I personally think her voice was the best of all the women in the film. Isabelle who played the young Cosette nailed her performance too… Amanda who played Cosette (and also starred in Mama Mia) was simply perfect for this angelic role.

miserables-08 miserables-05 miserables-09

The Brunette:  I was watching for the windows to blow out from her high notes.

The Blonde:  Real sensitive Brunette!

The Brunette:  The two young romantic male stars Eddie and Aaron were not only gorgeous but had the voices to match.

The Blonde:  I agree they were eye candy. I loved Aaron’s voice. I think he had the best vocals after Hugh. I really enjoyed their acting performances as well. I have to give so much credit to the director. This show has a tendency to be over acted. Hooper got such amazing performances out of every cast member big or small. Oscar, Oscar, Oscar!

The Brunette:  Oh you just liked him because he was the rebel and a bad boy.

The Blonde:  They were all basically rebels. But you got me, I do like bad boys.

miserables-07  miserables-06 

The Brunette:  I want to state now that I predict that Paco Delgado will win Oscar for best costume design.

The Blonde:  Well, I do think that Joanna Johnston will give him a run for his money for Lincoln. I think both of these films deserve all the same awards. Tough year, Tough year!  As for the films comic relief, both Sacha and Helena were outstanding and again perfectly cast. The only time I stopped crying was when they were on screen. 


The Brunette:  Yea, I noticed and so did the audience… Even your laughter was too loud. Again, the casting of these two could not have been more perfect… Definitely a much needed comic relief. However, it would have been better with quieter Blonde laughter…

The Blonde:  Double Ouch! I found the storyline to be very apropos and comparable to today’s problems in the world. It hit home for me.

The Brunette:  For sure. Like the class division, poverty, homelessness, hunger and all around unhappiness of society. Is it truly right or wrong to arrest a man for life for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family? There is definitely something wrong with society when this can happen.

The Blonde:  Well there are many morals to this story and what the brunette said is just one of them. This is the reason I love this musical so much. There are so many storylines to this film which can provoke values and lessons to be learned here.  I cannot rave more about "Les Miserables" the film. My glowing adjectives such as stunning, brilliant, exquisite, dazzling and luminous are just a start. I rate this film an A++ and a must see. I think it is such an important film that it should be mandatory for schools to go see on a field trip. Run and see "Les Miserables". It will be a classic…

The Brunette:  Tell us how you really feel Blondie!  All kidding aside, I agree that this is a masterpiece and should be seen by all. I give it an A+. It is worthy to pick up for your own personal movie library!!