So, this is what I got up to last night :
I had no idea what to expect of this film, since I'd never read the book and I haven't seen the musical production either. But, who wouldn't want to see the all star cast in action, as well as see what all the hype is about?
I saw the trailer some time ago (here in South Africa we live under a rock. Les Mez only started showing last Friday here...) and this film has been on my to do list ever since. If you haven't seen it for whatever reason, here it is.
I have always loved Anne Hatthaway. She's beyond incredible and it showed in this film. Hugh Jackman? Deserves every nomination and award he gets for his performance and more. Russel Crowe was brilliant. I mean, even Sacha Baron Cohen, who normally plays high comedy and very slapstick kind of roles, was absolutely fantastic in this film, playing alongside an always amazing (and quirky) Helena Bonham Carter. Amanda Seyfried was fabulous as well, reaching those glass shattering high notes. I had never heard of Samantha Banks before this film, but she's very noteworthy now! What a voice!
Here's another quick behind the scenes :
This film is incredible and verges on the epic. The actors were brilliant, each and every one. The cinematography was friggen intense and amazing. Costumes and makeup was really amazing, ageing and sickening up the actors really well. Overall, this was probably one of the best movies I've seen in my life.
But don't think you'll walk out of the cinema feeling uplifted and light hearted. Because you won't. This is not a positive film at all. I left feeling drained and kind of depressed. Which says something for the acting! This is a very emotional film, touching on very emotional subjects, such as death, crime, poverty and religion.
If you haven't seen the film yet and want no spoilers, don't read on from here. :)
The story is in essence about a man, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who was starving in the French Revolution. He was raising his sister's son and when he realised they would die of hunger, he stole a loaf of bread for them to eat. Of course, he was caught and sentenced to slavery to work off his crime for nineteen years. The film begins where he is serving the final day of the sentence and is released on parole by police officer Javert (Russel Crowe).
Jean is classified as a dangerous criminal and can't find work or even shelter, anywhere, due to his papers stating this fact. All of this for a loaf of bread? Yes.
So he finds shelter in a parish somewhere, where the priest is very kind to him. But he decides to rob some of the priests valuables and runs off, only to be caught again. But the priest is good to him again, telling the officers that he'd given the silver to Jean Valjean, and Jean had even forgotten to take two candlesticks, which had been part of the gift.
This leads to Jean tearing up his papers, violating his parole and becoming a fugitive hunted by Javert. He sells all the valuables, but for the two candlesticks and builds himself a new life, helping people where he could. He becomes the mayor of a small village and the owner of a factory, where Fantine (Anne Hatthaway) works.
She's discovered to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, and is dismissed from the factory, which forces her to turn to prostitution to survive. Meanwhile, Javert had come back into the picture, relentlessly hunting Jean down. And he recognises him, filing a report against Jean.
After some events, Jean finds Fantine very ill and takes her to the hospital to recover. Events lead to the capture of an innocent man as Jean Valjean and real Jean has to do some soul searching; would he let an innocent take his place? The answer was no. He gave himself in, but is allowed to leave.
He goes to Fantine, who is very ill, and begs him to take care of her daughter, before she dies. He goes in search of the girl and immediately forms a father-like bond with her. He pays off the tavern proprietors who had been 'taking care' of her. Thenadier (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Madame Thenadier (Helena Bonham Carter) drive a hard deal (being fortune hunters and thieves), but Jean pays them what they require and takes Cosette to raise her.
Nineteen years pass and talks of rekindling the flame of revolution in France start. Jean had raised Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) to a young woman, but the two were still on the run, even though she had no idea why. Javert was still on their trail after all this time. By chance, Cosette lays eyes on Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a young nobleman fighting for revolution, and the two instantly fall in love.
Marius asks Eponine (the daughter of the Thenadiers, played by Samantha Banks) to find Cosette for him. Eponine is in love with Marius, but does as he asks and finds her, causing a second meeting between the lovestruck two.
Many things happen, Jean and Cosette are forced to leave once again and revolution breaks out. Jean learns of Marius and Cosette's romance and wants to see this young man for himself. So he goes to the front lines of the battle. Meanwhile, Javert had baan caught by the young revolutionists and Jean claims he wants Javert for himself. But instead of taking vengeance upon him, he lets Javert go free.
Gavroche, a young street urchin (played by BRILLIANT young actor, Daniel Huttlestone) is shot by the guard and pandemonium breaks out, resulting in full warfare. All of the young revolutionists die, but for Marius, who is gravely injured and saved by Jean.
Javert finds Jean, while carrying Marius to the hospital and can't bring himself to kill Jean, after his act of mercy before. So he commits suicide. (gasp...?!?!?! yes, that's what I said.)
Jean saves Marius' life, reuniting him with Cosette and they get married. In the end, after a long and troubled life, Jean dies and finds peace.
And that's the story. I told you, it's quite draining and depressing. I've heard of bad things happening to good people, but nothing good ever happens in this film. Constant poverty, hunger and death and if that's not enough, we'll take your hair and your teeth too. :)
If you go to see this, be sure to take tissues and be prepared. It's a brilliant film, with an outstanding cast, but it's heavy and depressing. It deserves every award it gets!
Let me know if you want to see more movie reviews!
Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,