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Tom Hooper’s screen adaptation of one of the most beloved musicals in the theatrical history opened on Christmas day in the United States to great acclaim of movie critics and “Les Mis’ fans alike.  Although it was hard to make a new version of ‘Les Misérables’ after all the countless stage and screen adaptations of Victor Hugo’s 1862 classic novel, Tom Hooper’s movie breathes new life into the epic story of humanity struggling to find its way through misery and evil.

(Images via Universal Pictures.)

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in ‘Les Misérables’

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in ‘Les Misérables’


There were several attempts of bringing ‘Les Misérables’ musical to the silver screen over the past 25 years, and each time it was abandoned in the early stages of preproduction. Finally, the British production company ‘Working Title Films’ and Tom Hooper agreed to make the picture in 2011, with William Nicholson as screenwriter and Cameron Mackintosh as producer. The principal photography began in March 2012 on several locations in France and England, but also in the famous Pinewood Studios where elaborate stage designs were built to recreate the 19th century Paris.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in  "Les Miserables",

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in ‘Les Miserables’

The Cast

Milos Forman once said that ‘If the casting is right, a director doesn’t even have to be there.’ This becomes obvious in those rare cases where casting is truly right and  ‘Les Miserables’ is one of those rare cases. The star-studded cast of ‘Les Misérables’ includes some of the greatest actors of modern cinema:  Hugh Jackman delivers the greatest performance of his career with his portrayal of Jean Valjean, the story’s protagonist, Anne Hathaway is brilliant as Fantine and Russell Crowe is eerily convincing as Inspector Javert, the story’s antagonist.

Helena Boham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isabelle Allen in ‘Les Misérables’

Helena Boham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isabelle Allen in ‘Les Misérables’

Russell Crowe in ‘Les Misérables’

Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert in ‘Les Misérables’

Other members of the cast are equally brilliant in their roles: Helena Bohnam Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen are perfect as the primary villains of ‘Les Misérables,  the evil, greedy Thénardiers,  and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy are a really nice couple.

All members of the cast sang their numbers live on the set instead of using the pre-recorded soundtrack for more organic and realistic feel of the movie, which was achieved, but it has to be said that Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway simply overshadowed the rest of the cast with their singing.

Les Misérables Revolution

Scene of the Revolution from ‘Les Misérables’


With its exceptional cast, elaborate stage designs and honest artistic approach to the source material, Tom Hooper’s adaptation of ‘Les Misérables’ is both epic and gorgeous and adds a whole new dimension to ‘Les Miz’, doing justice to both Victor Hugo’s brilliant novel and the musical of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.

At this point it may be too early to predict the future cinematic trends, but it seems that Hooper, who won an Academy Award for Best Director for his previous feature film, “The King’s Speech”, has set the new standards in the genre of movie musicals.

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