Les Miserables by Tom Hooper


There was a time when men were kind

The one in which the viewer finds Wolverine dressed up like a hobbit singing Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog or “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE STOP RUSSELL CROWE FROM SINGING!”

Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) take on the musical adaptation of the classic Victor Hugo novel Les Miserables is quite frankly assez miserables.  Clocking in at 158 minutes in length you would think that the picture would take the time necessary to adequately explore the background of its subjects and the world in which they live.  Yeah, not so much.

In the time it takes for a 1972 Renault 12 to go from 0-60 miles per hour (approximately 14.3 seconds) Anne Hathaway’s character Fantine is introduced, exposed to her co-workers as a woman who gave birth out of wedlock, fired, has her head shaved, has her teeth ripped out of her mouth, is attacked, and dies.  Whew!  Exactly how long does one have to be on screen to earn a Best Supporting Actress nod?

What is the film doing for the other 157 minutes and 45.7 seconds?  I’m glad you asked!  It’s busy forcing the audience to listen to Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe have a sing off to the death of course.  Someone please pass me one of those French rifles the revolutionaries are using.  I think I’m ready to end it all now.  Yes, I know that they’re props.  I’ll just beat myself to death with one….slowly.

If you’ve never read the story or seen the musical, here’s the short version: living in 19th century France, Jean Valjean breaks the conditions of his parole and starts a new life as a respectable man.  Javert shows up and starts making trouble for him after Valjean agrees to care of the dying Fantine’s daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried).

Jackman plays the part of Jean Valjean, the guy who was imprisoned for 19 years for stealing bread (from the mouths of decadence) and won’t shut up about it.  Crowe portrays the Elijah Price to his David Dunn (if you actually understand this reference without the aid of Google, then you feel my pain), the nasty general Javert.  And Hathaway?  Well as I previously mentioned, she’s dead before you can ever give a rat’s ass about her or her annoying daughter.

But Valjean cares about her, almost to the point of creepiness.  After rescuing the young lass from the clutches of Helena Bonham-Carter and Borat he dedicates his life to raising her up right.  Of course he never counted on her growing up and falling in love at first sight, or note, or whatever.

She gets the hots for a revolutionary boy.  He gets the hots for her.  This other chick that is part of the revolution is in love with him.  It’s like a classic J. Geils Band song, only it’s the exact opposite of awesome.

Hardly ever is a word spoken.  Instead for almost three hours, words are “extended” by song.  This approach to acting gets old fast.  It’s like watching a prequel to Glee that isn’t all that interesting, or entertaining, or enjoyable.  Well, to be fair, neither is the real Glee of course, so if this was Hooper’s intention, then he should be congratulated.  Good job sir!

Best Picture?  NO.
Actor in a Leading Role?  NO
Actress in a Supporting Role?  NO (sadly it’s going to be YES on awards night)
Costume Design?  YES
Makeup and Hairstyling?  YES
Music-Original Song?  NO
Production Design? NO
Sound Mixing?  NO

Is it worth watching a picture for its lavish costumes and its actor’s amazing hairstyles?  Not when you have to sit through Russell Crowe singing.  Most certainly not.

Les_Miserables ★★½☆☆
Les Miserables
Directed by Tom Hooper
Nominated For:
Best Picture (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers)
Actor in a Leading Role (Hugh Jackman)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Anne Hathaway)
Costume Design (Paco Delgado)
Makeup and Hairstyling (Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell)
Music-Original Song (“Suddenly” Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil)
Production Design (Eve Stewart (Production Design); Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Decoration))
Sound Mixing (Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes)

United States
158 Minutes


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About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.

  • http://wellreadfish.blogspot.com/ Jen @ The Well Read Fish

    I love this review. I DID enjoy watching it, because it was my favorite musical, so I liked the music. But, YES. You are SO spot on. And I say that in CAPS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jackie-Hirst/527147348 Jackie Hirst

    NO! funny review but i disagree on this one!! (except for the Russell Crow parts)!! i loved it!