Tom Hooper's (The King's Speech) cinematic adaption of widely acclaimed Les Misérables is an impressive feat with hits and misses but is nonetheless enjoyable.
For those who has not seen Victor Hugo's Les Misérables in any form, book or play, the story follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) who was sentenced to 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving family. He breaks parole and somewhat worked his way to become a well-respected mayor of a small town. He adopts Cosette (Isabelle Allen and Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of lowly prostitute Fantine (Anne Hathaway). Cosette grows up and falls for Marius (Eddie Redmayne) who is in turned pined after by Eponine (Samantha Barks) during the turbulent times of the 1832 Paris rebellion. To makes matters worse, dogged Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) closes in on our hero.
Transforming a highly successful musical to movie is a major feat for any director as well as his actors, who now face vocal demands on top of their acting. Hugh Jackman is a great choice here, being a stage performer as well as a screen actor. Experience shines through here as he delivers both act and tune smoothly. Hathaway's long-take solo is emotionally delivered, beginning with a sorrowful whisper before raising to a devastating climax, and would surely gain many more fans for this up-and-coming star. Samantha Barker as Eponine and Eddie Redmayne as Marius both perform adequately in their numbers too. On the other hand, despite of her experience with ABBA songs on Mamma Mia!, Amanda Seyfried disappoints here in Les Misérables. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Cater's cameo as the bullies of an innkeeper couple is great comic relief for an otherwise rather depressing plot.
We dare you not start to hum the tunes from the show as you leave the theatre, determined to read the novel and watch the play again if you already have.