I have a vague recollection of hearing the soundtrack to the stage musical production of Les Misérables way back in the late 1980s, but not much of the story itself really can be recalled, apart for the plot and characters being very bleak.
Indeed, Les Misérables is a dark and at times depressing tale set in 19th-century France, yet manages to find a sense of joy and fulfilment by the conclusion.
This 2012 film adaptation has an excellent cast, highlighted by Hugh Jackman, joined by accomplished performers Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. However, it is Samantha Barks, re-prising the role of Éponine that she had played on stage previously, that delivers the most stunning performance of this highly regarded ensemble.
With raw vocal singing and minimalist sets, this is a production that allows the talent and skills of the actors be centre stage with little distraction around them. Everyone is given a chance to shine. Much credit for this must go to director Tom Hooper.
There’s not much I can fault in the movie, beyond perhaps its’ slightly longish running time [158 minutes], as it delivers a vast amount of great performances and is well worth repeated viewings.
score: 8 out of 10.