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Our review of Les Miserables:
KRISTIAN: The novel-turned-broadway play is now a movie musical, and if you’re a fan of musicals, you’ll love “Les Miserables”. That statement also acts as a disclaimer, because anyone not in love with the idea of constant singing won’t be swayed by the Tom Hooper-directed incarnation. Luckily, I’m not in that camp and was thrilled to see this epic film come to life. Easily one of my favorite films of the year, this “Les Miserables” features award-worthy performances, breathtaking cinematography and storytelling that will have willing audiences spellbound for almost three hours. Hugh Jackman is a surefire Oscar candidate, as is Anne Hathaway in a touching supporting role. Even Russell Crowe, who let’s just say isn’t the finest singer in this cast, wins you over with his portrayal of the evil French captain…other noteworthy performances the gorgeous and talented Samantha Barks and the welcome comic relief of Sacha Baron Cohen. While it’s only drawback may be it’s lack of abiity to win over reluctant viewers, “Les Miserables” has so much to offer a fan of musical cinema that it easily is one of the best films of 2012.
SCORE: 4.5/5 Schmoes
MARK: To be fair, any telling of “Les Miserables” has to dig itself out of a hole with me simply because the novel was the bane of my existence in seemingly every English class I ever had. But hey, great movies can be made from impenetrable prose (still waiting on the Hallmark Channel “Ethan Frome” though), so as a casual fan of musicals I was open to the idea of “Les Mis” sweeping me up in it’s emotional vortex. Unfortunately, this is simply not the film for musical amateurs…it’s virtually all singing, and it would eventually drown out the otherwise tremendous efforts of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and company to care about anything that’s going on. Jean Valjean ditches his parole after serving 19 years for stealing some bread, and we’re off and carrying tunes constantly for the next three hours. While the cast excels at belting outs the broadway hits (mostly…thanks for playing, Maximus), it would only lead to distracting this viewer from any connection that could be forged, and “Les Miserables”, while it may be a landmark for musical lovers, proves that this genre of film may be the hardest to cross over to the rest of us.
SCORE: 3.65/5 Schmoes