[Movie Review] Les Misérables (2012) - Alvinology

[Movie Review] Les Misérables (2012)

Les Misérables (2012 film)
Les Misérables (2012 film)

The film adaption of the epic French historical novel by Victor Hugo and broadway musical by Cameron Mackintosh, Les Misérables was the last movie I watched in 2012.

Thanks to UIP, Rachel and I watched Les Misérables at the preview screening on 18 Dec, just before we flew off to Taiwan for our family holiday.

It was a wonderful movie to wrap up 2012 for us. The all-star cast featuring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Amanda Seyfried all delivered masterclass performances; particularly Jackman and Crowe as the two lead protagonist, Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert.

If you are not familiar with the original, here is the synopsis for the movie:

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale.


Rachel has seen the musical before and was able to sing-along for all the songs in the movie. She is familiar with the storyline but was still captivated by this 2012 film adaptation nonetheless.

For me, I only know the musical is set during the French Revolution and features many teary moments. I entered the cinema thinking it would be a sappy soap musical appealing to the same kind of audience who would enjoy romance novels. How wrong was I.

Beyond just being a tearjerker, the revolution theme come across strong. There is also the macro exploration of what constitutes morality and how we live a world of no clear right and wrong.

The lyrics to the call for revolution song, “Do You Hear the People Sing” keeps ringing in my head as I leave the cinema hall:

“Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums There is a life about to start When tomorrow comes!”

Hmm…. somehow, the tyranny of the absolute French monarchy bullying the masses reminds me me a certain empathetic, elitist political party whom has not been listening to the angry cries of its people in recent years over rising prices, increased income equality, failing public transport and other societal failings.

On a side note, the movie makes people cry.

Rachel did and I was moved too.

Don’t believe me? Check out this viral video of an American family crying all the way home after watching the movie during the Christmas period last year:

Les Misérables is now showing in Singapore cinemas. It is a movie not to be missed – go catch it!

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