In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that this is my all-time favorite musical. My friends derive great amusement from bringing me to tears at the mere mention of Jean Valjean’s final farewell to Cosette. Nothing was going to make me dislike this film. I mean, honestly, they would have had to try. That being said, the movie is not without its flaws, but all in all, it’s a beautiful, moving production.
The story is stirring and heartfelt. I know you know the plot, but I get paid by the word. The prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) escapes parole fleeing the ruthless Javert (Russell Crowe). His life changes profoundly when he agrees to care for Cosette (Isabelle Allen/Amanda Seyfried), the child of Fantine (Anne Hathaway). Meanwhile, in the back alleys and barrooms of Paris, the kindling is being thrown on the fire of the French Revolution.
An interesting aspect of the film is that the singing is done live. Now it’s still not like live theater—the actors have multiple takes to perfect each scene--nevertheless, it delivers a far more visceral impact than dubbing the songs in during post production. The voices aren’t perfect—Crowe has been singled out for being one of the weaker singers. Honestly his singing did not bother me a bit, probably because his acting is so good. No, he won’t be joining the three tenors anytime soon, but his performance, like the rest of the cast, was stellar. The only exception for me was the innkeeper (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) who turned the playfully conniving pair into a smarmy, disconcerting duo. Other than that it’s a moving story, beautifully shot.
It’s an 8.