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Les MisÚrables - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published December 25th 2012
How to survive Les Mis

To the legions of Les Mis fans out there, you know who you are and you need not read any further. For those of you who have a less favourable view, you may find yourself cornered into seeing the film adaptation of this musical theatre behemoth. If so, there are measures you can take to help counter it's affect.

Working Title Films / Relativity Media

Firstly, you are going to need alcohol. Lots of alcohol. And food. Even more food than alcohol. For this reason, I recommend Gold Class. You can receive a steady stream of reinforcements as the whole sad spectacle unfolds before you. Start with a cocktail, slide down a few spring rolls with a glass or two of riesling, and then possibly another cocktail, since you probably found it hard deciding which one to have.

This will go some way to preparing you for the sensory molestation which is Russell Crowe singing. If you haven't heard Rusty's band, 50 Odd Foot of Grunts, and let's face it, why would you, your luck is about to run out.

Working Title Films / Relativity Media

In the opening scene all your fears will be realised, as Crowe warbles to and fro with Hugh Jackman. At this point you might be pressing the service button for a strong cognac. Don't worry, no one will blame you for it.

For much of the film you may find it hard to detect any sort of melody, it will just sound like people "singing" ordinary sentences. While this device has the advantage in letting you know what the character's inner thoughts are, after a while the relentless overwrought emoting becomes numbing.

I won't deny there's plenty of talent in front of and behind the camera. Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne act their little 17th Century stockings off, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen provide some much needed comic relief, and the production design and cinematography are grandly impressive. This will not likely be enough to get you through 157 minutes of grime, anguish and the same two tunes repeated over and over. This will be an exercise in fortitude. This is why you also need pudding.

Working Title Films / Relativity Media

If you don't want to end up as one of Les MisÚrables, I suggest the sticky date or the white chocolate cheesecake at around the 2 hour mark. It should just about get you over the line. Fight the urge to put the sweet stuff in your ears. Rusty can't sing forever and there's no point wasting good food.

Apparently fans of the stage musical approve of the screen adaptation. It ticks all the right boxes. I'm glad they like it, I really am. It isn't, however, likely to convert the non-believers. And for the latter group, I say, in the name of sanity, be prepared to stack on a couple of kilos.

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Your Comment
Les Miserables is not a "Lloyd Webber oeuvre".
by lpowyer (score: 0|3) 2925 days ago
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