“Les Miserables” or “Les Mis” is a musical based on the French historical novel, “Les Miserables,” by Victor Hugo. It’s not like Hollywood to do a musical, but hey, they did, and I went to see it. It’s not really fantasy, or even sci-fi, for that matter, but as I’ve said before, it’s my blog, I’ll review what I want to. It’s set in the early nineteenth century in France. The primary focus of the story is the life of Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman), a man imprisoned for 19 years for stealing bread to feed his starving family. The story begins with his release from prison.
A number of other characters appear throughout the film, but all of them relate back to Jean Valjean in some way. There is a very strict, devoted French Inspector (played by Russell Crowe) who haunts Jean’s steps throughout his life, always seeking to throw him back in prison. There is a destitute woman in Jean’s employ in his new life who gets fired, turns to prostitution, then dies (played by Anne Hathaway). Jean goes on to raise her child for her, who grows up and falls in love with a man involved with the burgeoning rebellion.
The above is basically a summary of a summary. The story is too complex to really do it justice in just a paragraph. Overall, I found it quite moving. Jean started out in the pit of misery, but through the strength of his spirit, built a life for himself from nothing (well, actually, from a gift of valuables from a priest) and set himself on the path to redemption. Throughout the film he is constantly proving his worth as a caring, compassionate man, despite the trials and tribulations that beset him. It was actually quite inspiring.
I don’t know if there were any major flaws in the movie, and it probably deserves five stars. It’s definitely a far richer fare than what Hollywood usually serves up. Still, it’s a musical. And I don’t really care for musicals that much… well, that view may be changing because of this movie.
So, anyway, I’ll give this film four and a half stars out of five. But I don’t see that many musicals, so it’s hard for me to judge accurately. Perhaps it really is worthy of five.
Today was supposed to be another stop in my blog tour, however, there seem to be some issues with the hosting site of some sort. Hopefully, it will be resolved some time soon. In the mean time, I’ve decided to post an old movie so my readers have something to read.
Old Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland (2010)
What can I say? I’m so into fantasy, I even went to see “Alice in Wonderland” when Tim Burton’s version of the movie came out in 2010. I enjoyed it immensely, but I do have one serious misgiving. This was not a kid’s movie. On the big screen, between Tim Burton’s signature gloomy settings, the ferocious bandersnatch, and, of course, the dark and sinister jabberwocky, I think it was a bit much for an audience of young children. I think, lately, Hollywood has a tendency to forget who their target audience is. “Alice in Wonderland” should have been geared towards children; and it was not.
Regardless, it brought together a number of talented actors and actresses in the movie. Johnny Depp, of course, seemed perfect for the role of the mad hatter. I’ve never seen Mia Wasikowska before, but she did a remarkable job as Alice Kingsley. Helena Bonham Carter made a perfectly good obnoxious red queen, and Anne Hathaway made a decent white queen.
If we ignore the not-for-children aspect, this was an exceptional fantasy story. It tells the story of Alice Kingsley, daughter of a successful (but deceased) businessman. Alice has some difficulties fitting into the polite society of her time. When a young lord proposes to her, she feels beset by a host of issues, not least of all is what she really wants to do with her life. She takes a moment for her self to chase a strange coat-wearing rabbit with a pocket watch. She falls down a hole and finds herself in Underland, a world of magical potions, strange beings, and enchanted swords. This begins her adventures through the mysterious land which culminates in an epic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil.
The special effects of the film were exceptional. The storyline was interesting, and most of the acting was superb. The drawback was, like I said, the movie was not made for the very young. And when I hear the phrase “Alice in Wonderland,” I normally think of the very young as an audience.
Anyway, I’ll give it four out of five stars. It would be four and half, if not for that one glaring flaw.