Last night I went to see the film version of Les Miserables. I confess I went with some trepidation as this is my favourite musical: I have seen the stage show, the concert performances, and often listen to the dream cast singing it. How would actors cope with the demanding singing? But I went waning to like it, even love it – so what did I think? (Beware there is at least one spoiler in what follows so if you don’t know the story you may not want to read on until you have seen it)
Mostly the singing was okay: Ann Hathaway and Hugh Jackman did very well, especially Ann’s ‘I dream a dream’ which was heartbreaking. All the other actors also did well but as expected the disappointment was Russell Crowe, whose voice is not up to the role of Javier.
I felt the film was beautifully made and, for those who find plots difficult to discern from pure singing, was well illustrated. I confess I cried more than I did when I saw the stage show because the film allows you to get very close-up and personal when tragedy occurs.
Inevitably for me it is the story of redemption and grace that captures me and again that was well thought out in the film with the possible exception of Crowe’s Javier whose suicide because he could not process the grace that had been shown to him was less than convincing for me.
This is a film that churches could use either as a whole or in parts to discuss a great many moral issues and the role of grace and redemption within them.
I am glad that I saw the film and would probably watch it again although for me the stage with its professional singers would always be my preference.