Film Review: Les Misérables

lesI saw Les Misérables and really enjoyed it. I haven’t seen the theatre production so I’m sure that this is one the reasons I’m probably not as critical of the film as theatre buffs seem to be. The story largely follows former criminal Jean Valjean as he evades capture from inspector Javert, merging a tale of tragedy, revolution and love into one musical.

The music was great. I liked that the actors sang while it was being filmed, instead of being pre-recorded in a studio and lip-synced along to later. It seemed a little more authentic, even though some of the actors’ voices were not of Broadway quality (cough, cough Russell Crowe).

The only real criticisms of the film I have were that it felt a little long. Clocking in at 2.5 hours long, this shouldn’t have surprised me. And considering that the book is nearly 1,500 pages, maybe we should all be grateful that the film was only 2.5 hours long. The other major thing that bothered me was how melodramatic certain parts were. Javert sings a very sad song about how only he or Valjean can live on; why does one have to die? Can’t they both live in peace? And why does Fantine sell her hair, teeth and body seemingly only a few hours after being fired from her job? Isn’t this a little extreme?

But all in all, I really enjoyed the film. The best way I can describe it is epic. It’s the type of film you would only watch every year or two but really enjoy, sort of like Titanic.

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