I can fondly remember belting out 'Do You Hear the People Sing" in jr. high school chrous. I have since seen the play on Broadway with many more songs that have quickly become my favorite. The beauty of Les Miserables, is despite taking place in 19th-century France, is its timeless topics rooted in politics, dreams, humanity and love that is a story for every generation as well as one that will truly move you the second the lights dim the movie theater.
At a recent press junket for the movie, which opens on Christmas Day, Hugh Jackman (Jean Valijean) spoke of how this story is the "beautiful journey of his character" that covers the profound parallels of redemption and hope. He also noted that through of the characters in the movie, we can all see that it is crucial to "be present and know what you stand for," which is indicative in Jean Valijean who goes from being a prisoner to a mayor to finally when he becomes a father to Cosette (Isabelle Allen and Amanda Seyfried) where he learns the true meaning of love. Cameron Mackintosh, producer of the original play, also noted that "this is the people's musical" that grabs you and captivates you and won't let you go after you watch. He added, the reason the play has been so successful is because "it is a contemporary story for every generation."
Starring Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Tom Hooper, the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation follows the hunt of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean by policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole and creates a new identity that comes from hardship. While watching the movie, I was struck by this cinematic piece on so many levels. Not only was I crying during the hardships that the characters faced, I was also moved by the raw emotions that the actors brought to the film that was all showcased through songs and acting that was showcased through their faces.
Hugh spoke of how he wanted to look 'unrecognizable' and lost weight for the beginning of the movie to transform into the prisoner. Anne Hathway (Fantine) also transformed and chopped off all of her hair during the filming. An emotional role, she spoke of how she watched videos of sexual slavery to get into the emotions that "still exists." Although she is not a mom herself, Anne was able to connect with the idea of mothers who lose their children, or those that fall into roles as sex workers, which increased her emotional vulnerability.
From the time that Jean Valijean is imprisoned to the emotions involved when he is one the run to the dynamics of falling in love, the movie is packed with so many emotions from happiness to sadness to pain that is all depicted through song. Musicals can be tricky through film (especially for modern-day actors), but you would never know that these actors who rehearsed and trained for months, and even had to audition for these roles, which traditionally actors of this caliber fon't have to do anymore. Director Tom Hopper stated, "I had to protect the emotional DNA of the show, I needed to know the actors could act through singing." This also showcased scenes of closeups as seen in "I Dreamed A Dream" that was sung beautifully by Anne Hathway and "On My Own" that was sung by newcomer Samantha Barks. The film also offers some comedic relief thanks to the hilarious Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bohham Carter as shady landlords and temporary caretaker of Colette. I loved watching their scenes with their brillant timing and the catchy "Master of the House" song.
Following the plight of Jean Valijean over 30 years, the film does more than showcase the talent of the actors, but it also shows the dedication, passion and genuine love for the material that the actors honed and crafted as their own as an ode to the play and creation under a new medium that generations to come will love and truly admire.
Check out the trailer of the film:
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were given tickets to see the movie.