Les Miserables – Movie review


My sister-in-law said my brother was sobbing at the movie. My son Ivan insisted he didn’t cry, although he mentioned that people around him were crying during the show.

I like a movie that can either make me cry or laugh our loud. Comedy are a plenty but a really good crying show is rare. I remember the movie that made me cry really hard was the 1979 hit film The Champ. Nothing came close then, probably because I grew up.

So it was with fervor that Bee and I went to watch the movie Les Miserables. I know the story very well. I have been to the musical twice when they came to Singapore eons ago before the Esplanade was built. The first time I was right at the back of Kallang Theatre and didn’t know what was going on. The second time was complimentary VIP tickets from my Aunt and we were right up front. Then I cried, together with the Caucasian man in front who was sobbing into his tissues. Mike was stoic throughout.

The movie had a strong cast from Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried, who was last seen in Mama Mia! The Musical movie.

The movie follows closely the musical, with almost 99% dialogues sung.

Russell Crowe is Inspector Javert, who is in pursuit of fugitive Jean Valjean, convict 94201 who had broken his parole. The period was just after the French Revolution but the people were still not happy with the new government. Jean Valjean stole some silver from a church and was almost caught but the priest changed his life by pardoning and giving him the silver to start afresh. Seven years on, Jean is now the mayor of a town and runs a factory. His compassion for saving others leads him to promise a prostitute Fantine (Anne Hathaway) on the brink of death that he will find her daughter Cossette and bring her up as his own. Cossette brings him great happiness but they are still always on the run from the inspector. Cossette then falls in love with the young student revolutionist Marius who is nearly killed but is saved by Jean Valjean, who tells him the truth about who he really is.

Amidst all gloom and doom, Sasha Baron Cohen and Halena Bonham Carter provide some comedic relief as Mr and Mrs Thenardier, Cossette’s foster parents.

It’s easy to be an armchair critic but the men’s singing was terrible. Some parts were strained. The ladies fared much better. My brother and Ivan, however, thought everyone sang well. In my brother’s words, ‘How is it possible Wolverine, Batgirl and the Gladiator can sing so well? Sob… ‘

I didn’t sob throughout but the lyrics were really dreary, as one sung of hopelessness and lost dreams (yep, the song made famous by Susan Boyle was from this musical.) You can’t help but tear as you watch the misery around.

This is a classic and much cheaper to watch than the theatre. So go watch…and bring a tissue.

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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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