Directed By: Tom Hooper
Written By: Victor Hugo (novel) William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, and Herbert Kretzmer (screenplay)
I think this is one of the greatest stories of all time, yet I have never actually read the book. About 15 years ago it was our assignment during my sophomore year in English class. I specifically remember utilizing the internet for the first time to read the Spark Notes for the novel. What I found to be so interesting was how much I loved the story simply reading the synopsis. I enjoyed it so much I actually earned the highest grades in the class on all the tests even though I hadn’t actually read it. I was very vocal during discussions too because I had a lot to say about the story back then. I think I was about 15 at the time and I thought I was so clever but despite being lazy and cheating on the assignment I still felt I learned something from it. It’s a great story with powerful characters in it, I hope it is still required reading today and kids are putting more effort into it than I did despite what I may have learned or felt about it.
I did enjoy this story when I was in tenth grade but hadn’t revisited it in the years that passed before this movie came out and had forgotten most of it. I had looked forward to this movie at first because the cast was shaping up to be significant but when I heard it was a musical I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I always tell people that there is no room for musicals in the movie industry these days and then something this great comes out and makes me look like an idiot. What’s funny is it’s a mistake I continue to not learn from. I should have learned my lesson when Chicago blew me away but I didn’t. This movie too has made me take back a statement or two. When we finally sat down to watch it I was really dreading it too; I couldn’t have been more surprised by how wrong I was. This movie is incredible from beginning to end and every single one of the actors literally blows me away with the power of their performances.
Who knew Wolverine could sing? I literally had no idea and during that scene when he rips up his papers I was literally floored by the strength of his voice. He put on a powerful performance all throughout the film but when he walks out of that house holding that note for what seems like forever my jaw dropped. I hope he didn’t have to do too many takes for that scene because he looked on the verge of an aneurysm at a certain point. I have liked Hugh Jackman since he first hit the scene playing Wolverine for the first of seven times, so far. I have been a fan of most of the movies he has made and of course there is nobody out there that can bring one of the coolest Marvel characters to life like he does. I think he did a great job as Jean Valjean and have a new found respect for an actor who already had plenty of my respect.
Surprising me even more than Jackman is Russell Crowe. Seriously, who knew he was capable of this? I have said it many times now, but Russell Crowe always brings it. Think he can’t do something? Don’t hold your breath because just when you count him out he is belting out these songs with a range that seems completely out of nowhere. Javert is one of the coolest characters ever even though he is an antagonist in the story. He is the enemy of Valjean but only because the two find themselves on other sides of the law. Javert is noble and true to the point that he would rather die than dishonor himself. I love that in the character, it’s an honesty worthy of respect and Crowe carries it on his face throughout the film. Despite how much a dick Crowe is rumored to be in real life he pulls off noble and honest characters really well. He didn’t get nominated for his role in this movie and I am surprised by that because so many were.
Anne Hathaway did win the Academy Award for her role and definitely deserved it. Her performance is so profound I nearly feel bad for all those things I said in our Havoc review. She is too good and talented an actress to talk about so shamelessly. She is a rare actress who actually has the skills to match her flawless beauty. I look forward to what else she can do as an actress; the sky is the limit for her. I thought she would have a longer role in this film but that just goes to show how little I remembered about this story that had such an impact on me in my youth. Sadly Fantine isn’t in the film for very long but the fact that she won the Oscar despite that is a testament to what she accomplished.
Amanda Seyfried is nice on the eyes but I didn’t think she was exceptional in the film, or maybe she was just drastically outshined by her peers. Helena Bonham Carter is great in everything she does and this is no different. She is seemingly ageless and bringing her talent to a wide range of films lately. I was a huge fan of Da Ali G Show and for a while thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a genius and probably one of the most incredible comedians out there. Once the game was up and he couldn’t get away with his type of comedy anymore I lost interest. He does a great job in this movie but I just haven’t been a big fan of him as an actor. The rest of the cast is more or less unknown to me but I thought they all held up well and held their own next to these huge stars.
I am always pleased to be surprised by a movie and this one surprised me in many ways. I went in with a bad attitude about watching a musical but found myself enthralled by the power of the film. It captivated me immediately and by the end of the movie had earned my respect. I like the songs, I like the actors in the movie, and I think the story is incredible. Hands down this movie earned its keep in our collection and I think it is without doubt worth your time to see it.
This movie is truly incredible. The way the music carries you through the entire film, but isn’t confusing at all is a work of genius. I don’t even know how they were able to sing an entire movie and I was able to keep up and understand. And the immense talent that this film has in it is remarkable. Anne Hathaway blew me away. I just think she is the bee’s knees when it comes to acting. She started in the silly little film about becoming a princess and here she is lighting it up on the big screen singing across from Hugh Jackman. She completely impressed me as well as the entire cast. This film is an amazing adaptation and it is well worth anyone’s time, even if you aren’t the biggest musical fan.
I love this poster. The coloring is spot on for the mood of this movie. And this girl is almost the reason for hope. The hope to be something better and to live a better life where you can dream to be better. Her eyes are stark and draw you in. I love the proportions. She is a little off center to the right and her hair goes to the opposite direction. This creates a dramatic view of movement. The typography is great and almost has a bit of passion to it. I love this poster. I think the designers did an incredible job.
NEXT MOVIE: Lethal Weapon (1987)