When we go into a movie theater, we drop our internal filters — at least, those of us who are not professionals or critics do so. We want to suspend disbelief and be immersed in the world of the movie. The new Les Mis takes full advantage of that, hitting hard from the very first scene. It’s a powerful, emotional film from start to end, and I was totally pulled into it.
This version of Les Miserables, directed by Tom Hooper, is as enormous and dramatic as the times the novel is set in. I am not a fan of musicals in general, so can’t speak to that aspect of it. But the style of this film was just right for this larger-than-life story, set in turbulent post-Revolutionary France.
The intensity was sometimes overwhelming, and the film could easily have been shorter. But overall, it was a satisfying version of the classic novel.
Hugh Jackman was amazing as Jean Valjean. His performance alone makes this film worth seeing. Anne Hathaway did a wonderful job as well, both of them managing to act (and sing!) in spite of the extremely close camera shots that sometimes added to the emotional impact, and sometimes bothered me. The acting in general was well done, except for Amanda Seyfried, who seemed a bit insipid in the role of Cosette.
There was almost no spoken dialogue in this film — it was all sung — so most people who don’t care for musicals probably won’t like this either. I was surprised I managed to get over that fact, but it was the quality of the acting that pulled me in to enjoy a fine movie.