Hit and Mis - musical numbers go on and on

REVIEWED BY MAREE FIELD
Last updated 14:55 21/01/2013
les mis

On song: an earnest Russell Crowe shows his vocal talents as Inspector Javert.

Les Miserables
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SAVING GRACE: Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean takes care of Les Miserables' finest attribute, Anne Hathaway's factory worker-turned-prostitute Fantine.

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OPINION: MOVIE REVIEW: Les Miserables. Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen; directed by Tom Hooper

I have never read Les Miserables, the massively gigantic book by Victor Hugo that's approximately the same size as my head. I do, however, love the musical that's loosely based on Hugo's behemoth.

I'm an unashamed lover of musicals, and I've been looking forward to this one for a while. And - right from the start - I was enthralled.

The first scene, of the convicts singing and hauling in a ship, actually gave me chills and I settled in, happily anticipating the musical numbers to come.

And, that, if anything, is what prevents me from giving this Les Miserables five Jaffas. The fact that the musical numbers went on. And on. And on. And yes, I know, it's a musical, but some prudent editing here and there would have made a much better movie.

Well, that and Russell Crowe's very odd habit of singing up through his nose. I thought he sounded fine, just a bit strange.

Don't get me wrong, I thought everyone sounded great, especially Anne Hathaway, but honestly, some of the numbers could have been edited down just a tiny little bit.

The story of Les Mis is a simple one - Jean Valjean (Jackman) has served 19 years in prison for stealing bread. When he breaks his parole in an attempt to change his life, his nemesis Javert (Crowe) makes it his life's work to track Valjean down and make him face justice.

In the wake of Valjean's flight and Javert's pursuit, the lives of others are caught up and changed forever. Most notably, of course, that of Fantine, the tragic heroine of the tale, played with a lovely kind of fragility by Anne Hathaway, who has well and truly left The Princess Diaries behind her. It's not a particularly large role, but Fantine is pivotal in the lives of both men, commending her daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) into Valjean's care, and causing his identity to be revealed to Javert.

Will I buy the Blu-ray? Yes, yes I will. I just might skip through some of the longer musical numbers. Unless, of course, I'm already singing along . . .

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- The Southland Times

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