Les Misérables takes to the screen

Les Mis is the world’s longest running musical. But will its brave venture onto cinema screens pay off?

Based on the hit stage adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables the film has a lot to live up to. That said, with the musical having won the hearts of theatre audiences around the world, the crowds were bound to come pouring in.

Directed Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech and boasting an all-star cast, Anne Hathaway and Sacha Baron Cohen are among the names, Les Mis was set for success from the word go.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter

The film, set during the French revolution, follows the journey of Jean Valjean who after breaking his parole leads a life of fear, constantly searching for redemption.

Whilst the music and staging are breath-taking, (I was surprised to learn that all of the songs were recorded live), in all honesty the film is far too long.

The extensive song list could have been cut short and whilst the climax is emotional, it fails to pack the same punch as the live production’s final scene. It’s probably best not to admit it, but I did find myself thinking ‘will you just hurry up and die so we can get the scene over with’.

I’m a lover of all musicals, but there is still something slightly cringe-worthy about their film adaptations. Take Mamma Mia for example. The story is a tongue-in-cheek comedy that you can relax and watch on the sofa. Les Mis on the other hand will make you numb after sitting down for so long and just doesn’t match up to the magic of live theatre.

To sum it up, Les Misérables the film is well worth seeing and nothing less than impressive. But if you’re not willing to dedicate almost three hours to it just to leave the cinema feeling well, miserable, then I’d go for a rom-com instead!

Check out the trailer for yourself.


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