Directed by: Tom Hooper
Written by: William Nicholson (screenplay), Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics), Victor Hugo (novel)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried
When I originally saw Les Misérables, I was so disheartened and uninspired that I didn’t even want to write down any thoughts about it. Anne Hathaway was great, yes. At times the raw combination of extended takes done in close-up and live singing from the performers was thrilling. But the movie was bloated, sloppy and completely overdone.
Having not seen the stage musical or read Victor Hugo’s gargantuan novel, I came to the material with completely fresh eyes. It begins with a sweeping, artificial-looking descent into a 19th century French work camp, where Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is completing a 20 year work sentence for stealing a loaf of bread for his family. He is overseen by Javert (Russell Crowe), a ruthless, incredibly narrow character whose sole pursuit throughout the movie is to show up conveniently at any given scenario where Valjean is present and make him squirm.