Prisoner 24601, known as Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), is released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself while evading the grip of the persistent Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Set post-revolutionary France, the story reaches resolution against the background of the June Rebellion.
One of the best known and best loved songs of Les Miserables is I Dreamed a Dream sung by the character Fantine. You may remember the sweet and triumphant version that help Susan Boyle raise to internet fame. But with all the cheers of the audience you might miss the words and meaning of the song. It is of despair and sorrow and Anne Hathaway makes you feel that. Our theatre audience applauded at the end of it.
My favorite character of the musical version was Javert. Russell Crowe's version of him does not command respect the same way the stage version does, but his scene of The Confrontation with Hugh Jackman was great feat of sing fighting. If they had added dancing, I think West Side Story would have been jealous.
In this film version though Eddie Redmayne should have been top billing. One of those actors you know the face of, but can't name anything he has been in, this will be his breakout role! As a tenor myself this has always been the role I wanted to play. (That or the Army Officer at the Barricade.) As he sits alone at Empty Chairs at Empty Tables he makes you feel his sense of loss. As he stares into the camera with tears rolling down his face I'll admit it was the scene made them roll down mine.
As with a story about "The Miserable" the character encounter some depressing circumstances. The final act of the movie takes place during a revolution where many are killed. Although the deaths are not bloody or graphic, they do carry hard impact for the ones who come to be beloved characters. The innkeeper played by Sacha Baron Cohen is very entertaining (and the only character who actually has a French accent), but his Master of the House has the two obscenities and has shows two character having sex. One of them being Santa! It also features characters drinking, but not is positive light. There is also (Spoiler) a scene where Fantine submits herself to prostitution. Although there is no nudity in the movie, the scene is very disturbing. It is not graphic or profane, just 3 short thrusts shown from the shoulder up. But the emotional weight is very adult and would not be appropriate for younger audiences.
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