The buzz is building around Les Miserables released on Christmas Day by Universal as previews for the press and VIPs are being held in New York and Los Angeles this week. It is the film after the play. Is it a film? Is it a play? Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) skillfully and elegantly surfs between these two artistic forms. The first scene for example is an epic view of a ship being hauled and dragged by slaves to its mooring like in a 3D movie. Yet, one of the last scenes during the 1830 Revolution in Paris nicknamed Les Trois Glorieuses (although there is nothing glorious about it as we can see in the movie) could have been staged at Le Chatelet. In the end it is a filmed musical comedy, definitely not an easy choice. But it works, and it works beautifully for two reasons. The cast is exceptional. When Anna Hathaway alias Fontine sings her dream, with her face distorted by suffering and misery, she brought tears to my eyes. And when Eddye Remaine alias Marius Pontmercy sung his dead friends with his reddened eyes, it is just heartbreaking. Not to mentioned a perfectly well cast Russel Crowe as Inspector Javert, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and an amazing Helena_Bonham_Carter as Madame Thénardier, the wife of the brothel and innkeeper. The other reason is the lyrics and songs we all know and rediscover with intense pleasure. “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” or “On My Own”, the original score written by Claude- Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil comes wonderfully forth on the screen.
So for the Oscars I suggest, Best Actress Best original score;Best adapted screen play… for a start. And could we add Best Foreign Inspiration as lets not forget Les Miserables is a French story, originally written by Victor Hugo!