Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men?
I realized the impact of "Les Miserables" was timeless when my class greeted my entrance with the opening lines of "Do You Hear the People Sing?". The tale of love and justice and mercy set in the midst of social unrest and revolt in 19th century France has proven to be an enduring theme for the ages.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, as I've been a fan of the musical ever since I first heard it in the late 80s. I can unashamedly say that I allowed the film to tug at my heartstrings, as I cried at several points of the movie. Seeing it on the big screen was a moving experience.
When I first saw previews of the movie, my first concern was how badly Russell Crowe fit into the role of Inspector Javert. Pitted against Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean, Crowe's singing and characterization of Javert seemed greatly lacking in impact. I am glad to say that, while Crowe will probably never get to the level of Jackman or Anne Hathaway in terms of singing, he didn't do as badly a job as people online have been saying.
Except for Crowe, the acting and singing of the cast was superb. While I enjoyed Jackman and Hathaway's performances, I also especially liked the singing of Eddie Redmayne, who played Marius, and Samantha Barks, who played Eponine. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, however, almost stole the show as the dastardly Thenardiers. Also look for Colm Wilkinson. the original Valjean, in a short, but powerful role.
At the heart of it is the genius of Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubil, who took Victor Hugo's classic tale, and translated it into a powerful musical that managed to capture the central themes of love and mercy.
The film wouldn't have shone if not for the efforts of its director Tom Hooper, who was able to bring the various elements together, and, having done so, wove a seamless tapestry of a story.
All in all, "Les Miserables" is a tour de force, and should be a classic for the ages.