The risk Tom Hooper took when he decided to film Les Misérables with on-set singing has proven, as it seems, the best thing he could have decided in respect to the movie. And we must admit that, as musical junkies, that this 2012 rendition of Victor Hugo’s book surely makes out top 3. The story overwhelmed viewers from the opening scene where Valjean makes his entrance as a prisoner dragging a ship into the dock to the very last one where he dies in the convent. The plot is ubiquitously known due to films and other versions: the story is centered around Valjean’s struggle to lead an honorable life after being offered his freedom by the Bishop Myriel, and Javert’s stride to finally catch him for breaking parole. Alongside this story, villans, fallen women, injustice, orphan mistreating and other secondary tales intertwine, when in his efforts to save Cosette, the dauther of Fantine, a former employee forced into prostitution after losing her job, Valjean has to deal with Thénardier and his wife( Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter). You should definitely check out the Time Warner Cable Offers and download the movie on demand, in order to watch it as soon as possible.
The cohesion of all these secondary plots is ensured by the music composed by Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer’s lyrics. The couplets that are sung at all times with simple, direct lyrics help propel the action forward while keeping the audience attentive. And throughout these lines that turn the movie into a coherent whole, solos performed by Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman as well as choral pieces derive from the context. So in the depth of her degradation, Fantine sings “I dreamed a dream”, while Javert explains his need to catch Valjean in “Stars” and in turn Valjean is struck by the deep paternal love he feels when he meets Cosette in “Suddenly”.
Last but not least, even though the main plot involves the pursuit of Jaljean by Javert, the political theme is also brilliantly portrayed as Javert is presented as the unquestioning servant, Marius, the student who finds himself by renouncing his own class and joining the revolution as “Do You Hear the People Sing” lifts the hearts of those who are about to lose their lives for the ideal.
The music that this masterpiece brings forth has not been, in contrast to other musicals, pre-recorded. So as actors played their parts and sang their songs, cameras rolled and songs were recorded. Quite a gamble but one that in the end proved most inspired. And amidst all turmoil, the movie reminds us that love is the reason for which people transcend and grow, that fighting for that which is right and true is needed in a society that resists change and that hope is something to be kept even in the most desperate of situations.