Les Misérables is based on the musical by the same name, which is in turn based on “Les Misérables,” the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. The film is set in 19th century France and follows the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a former prisoner who becomes mayor of a town in France. After a series of events, Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), the illegitimate daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and must avoid being captured again by Javert (Russell Crowe), a policeman. And all the while, the country is on the brink of revolution!
With a story this complex, and with characters so intertwined, it’s no wonder the movie runs for almost three hours.
But besides the run-time, something else separated this movie from the countless others like it: the entire musical was sung … and it was done live. Normally, in a movie-musical, actors record the soundtrack months before the actual production of the movie. Then, when filming scenes, they will play the soundtrack, and the actors will mime the lyrics.
But such a unique production like “Les Mis” leaves room for an ocean of opinions.
For some, it was the singing of lines that left more to be desired. “I didn’t like how absolutely everything was sung,” MU freshman Jill Deutsch said. “It actually kind of bothered me.”
For others, the casting was up for discussion. “I think the casting was perfect,” MU freshman Morgan Young said. “Anne Hathaway did a beautiful job, even though her part was somewhat brief. And, except for Russell Crowe, the singing was wonderful.”
One thing all could agree on was the fluidity and force of the amazing story told by “Les Misérables.”
“The director chose to focus more on the story of ‘Les Mis,’ and less on the music,” Loyola University freshman Tim Eidman said. “I feel that the story of ‘Les Mis’ is sometimes neglected by the fast pace of the stage musical. Tom Hooper, the director, chose to really bring out the story that lies behind the music. He made his casting choices so that the people that appeared on screen were brilliant actors, and it didn't matter at that point if the singing was the best, because the actors were still telling the story.”
And it was this fantastic story and the dedication of the actors that came together to pack such an emotional punch.
“I mastered the silent cry for 30 minutes at a time at various points during the movie,” Northwestern University freshman Anne Martin said. “Maybe it’s not perfect, but I loved it anyway. It hugged my heartstrings. And Eddie Redmayne (Marius) is pretty easy on the eyes, too.”
So grab your tissues and your mom, best friend or significant other and head to the movies, where you’ll be sure to experience the emotional drama, history and romance bursting at the seams in the international movie-musical experience of “Les Misérables.”
Curious to see what all the hype is about? See the official trailer here! You can also get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Les Mis” here!
By: Marisa Tesoro | Image: Source