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Les Misérables

By MATTHEW KORFHAGE
Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables lives up to its name. With the exception of about 10 minutes, the nearly three-hour film is an endless wallow in the fields of squalor, filth, chancre and herpes. Derived from Victor Hugo’s humanitarian novel, already a doorstop weepie, Les Miz is in musical form a bathetic pressure washer loaded with human tears. In Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) loose directorial grip, this water cannon jerks itself around as in an old Looney Tunes cartoon, spraying the world with salty liquid. As the saintly thief-gone-noble Jean Valjean pursued by the relentless Javert (Russell Crowe) through the streets of 19th-century France, Hugh Jackman is a terrifically convincing physical presence. But he is hobbled by Hooper’s decision to have the actors sing every line. Jackman is more a song-and-dance man than a balladeer, and his trilling over-enunciation bleeds his character of any possible nuance. Crowe, likewise, sounds less like a punctilious follower of the law than a bar-band bellower who needs a drink. Despite some expensive-looking overhead shots of degraded French life, Hooper’s epic film is centered doggedly on the suffering found in a human face. In the case of Anne Hathaway as the dying prostitute Fantine, this is a wise decision. She becomes a Jeanne D’Arc figure, ruined and beatific, sobbingly and haltingly wresting “I Dreamed a Dream” from Susan Boyle with the imperfections of her rendition. Les Miz is, more than anything, painfully obvious Oscar bait. In shooting relentlessly for a statuette, Hooper makes all of humanity into much the same thing: heavy and small, shining on the surface but just plain dead on the inside.
 
  • Genres: Musical
  • Release Date: Friday, January 11, 2013
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Sexual Material, Suggestive Material, Thematic Elements, Violence ]
  • Critic's Score: D
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman [Jean Valjean], Russell Crowe [Inspector Javert], Anne Hathaway [Fantine], Amanda Seyfried [Cosette], Eddie Redmayne [Marius Pontmercy], Aaron Tveit [Enjolras], Samantha Barks [Éponine], Helena Bonham Carter [Madame Thénardier], Sacha Baron Cohen [Thénardier]
  • Directed by: Tom Hooper [Director], William Nicholson [Screenwriter], Alain Boublil [Screenwriter], Claude-Michel Schönberg [Screenwriter], Claude-Michel Schönberg [Music], Herbert Kretzmer [Lyrics], Tim Bevan [Producer], Eric Fellner [Producer], Debra Hayward [Producer], Cameron Mackintosh [Producer]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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