For the few who don’t know…this is an opera. Which means it is sung from beginning to end. Only a few isolated words are spoken without singing and the speakers have a guilty look on their faces. The faces include Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. There are lots of others but, without singing their names, I am against mentioning all of them.
LM was directed by Tom Hooper. His last outing in 2010 was the Oscar winner, The King’s Speech. That film was impressive and this film is staged in a way that makes it visually stunning while being a little on the dark side. LM is about life in France a couple hundred years ago. Things were not good. Regular weekend Beaujolais and cheese parties were far in the future. Everyone, except the very rich, was very depressed, as well they should be. At the time, France had five classes of people; with the above-mentioned rich having all the money, all the food and the only fun there was to be had. Next were “The Miserables,” hence the movie’s title. Below them were the very miserables and even lower down were the extremely and totally miserables. The only group lower was the dead. The dead were the only ones in the bottom four groups with anything to live for.
The main character, played by HJ, is just being paroled for having stolen a scrap of bread 19 years earlier. He has been doing hard labor for his dastardly theft, as well he should. Some inconvenienced rich person had to choose a different piece of bread when HJ stole the one they would have otherwise purchased. RC is the copper, Javert, who busted him. When HJ violates his parole it sets off a lifelong mess where RC is obligated to put him back in the dungeon, while HJ just wants to do good deeds. Everyone else around them is swept up in their mess one way or another.
Long periods of time go by, decades are skipped with more singing that we don’t need to hear, because nothing but misery was taking place. Eventually the French people rise up once again and fight with other French people about who gets what and when they get it. There doesn’t appear to be much to fight over. Normally these fights end when both sides try to surrender. This leads to more fighting over who surrendered first.
While the songs are very pretty, they never stop singing; which tends to make the songs all sound the same except for when they try to hit a few different notes.
Based on the long running and very popular stag show, which was based on the even longer, very melodramatic novel by Victor Hugo, LM is on the Oscar nomination list with eight nods. I know it may win but can’t tell you specifics until I can figure out how to do it in song.
Rated 3.2 out of 4.0 white flags of surrender. NOTE: RC has already received a special award for his singing. The old Mrs. Miller, new Pierce Brosnan/Mama Mia award is his. RC certainly deserves the honor. He plans to sing his thanks at the award ceremony so be sure to push the mute button.