Les Mis lives up to the dream

Joyee Chan
Joyee Chan |

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Stealing bread is no minor crime in 19th century France. In Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Jean Valijean is jailed for 19 years. Upon being freed, he sheds his identity to start anew.

Now an altruistic mayor, Valijean vows to raise his ex-employee Fantine's (Anne Hathaway) daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). But Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) won't let him live in peace. It's more an obsession than a matter of law.

Largely faithful to the stage version, director Tom Hooper's Les Mis kicks things up a notch. For musical fans, there's much to like. Jackman has huge presence, with a burning rage in his Broadway voice. Samantha Bark, who played Eponine on London's West End, is a natural in the same role here, while Eddie Redmayne's Marius is heart-breaking in his Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.

Two performances stand out for opposite reasons. Hathaway is tremendous in the disappointingly small part of Fantine. She gives her all in her mournful I Dreamed A Dream. Crowe, by contrast, disappoints. His voice is strained and what could have been blockbuster numbers fall flat.

Les Mis is a delight for committed fans, but its sheer scale and grandeur should also impress the less devout.

YP Rating: 4/5

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