Les Misérables is a 2012 British musical drama film produced by Working Title Films and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg which is in turn based on Les Misérables, the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.
The film is directed by Tom Hooper, scripted by William Nicholson, Boublil, Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer, and stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried. The film tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who becomes mayor of a town in France. Soon exposed, Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of a dying Fantine, but as a fugitive must also avoid being captured again by police inspector Javert. The plot spans 17 years and is set against a backdrop of political turmoil, which in the film culminates in the June Rebellion of France.
Development of Les Misérables began in the late 1980s. After the musical’s 25th Anniversary concert in October 2010, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that the film resumed development. Hooper and Nicholson were approached in March 2011 and the main characters were cast in 2011. Principal photography commenced in March 2012, and took place in various locations including Greenwich, London, Winchester and Portsmouth in Hampshire, England, as well as Gourdon, in France.
Les Misérables premiered in London at the Empire, Leicester Square on 5 December 2012, and was released on 25 December 2012 in the United States, on 26 December 2012 in Australia, and on 11 January 2013 in the United Kingdom. The film has received divided, but generally positive reviews, with many critics praising the acting of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Hugh Jackman and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for Anne Hathaway. It is currently nominated for nine BAFTA Awards, including Best Film, Best British Film, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jackman) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Hathaway) and eight Academy Award nominations that include Best Picture, Best Actor (Jackman) and Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway).
Movie2k Watch Movies – Les Misérables – Plot
In 1815, convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released on parole by prison guard Javert (Russell Crowe) after serving a nineteen-year sentence. He is offered food and shelter by the Bishop of Digne (Colm Wilkinson), but steals his silver during the night. He is caught by the authorities, but the Bishop says that the silver was given as a gift, and secures Valjean’s release. Touched by the Bishop’s generosity, Valjean breaks his parole and vows to start an honest life under a new identity. Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice.
Eight years later, Valjean has become a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer. Fantine (Anne Hathaway), one of his workers, is discovered to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen), who lives with the unscrupulous Thénardiers (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter) and their daughter Éponine (Natalya Wallace), and is dismissed by the foreman (Michael Jibson). In a desperate attempt to support her daughter, Fantine becomes a prostitute. She is arrested by Javert after she attacks an abusive man, but is saved by Valjean, who has her hospitalized. Later, Valjean learns that a man believed to be him has been arrested. Unable to condemn an innocent man, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before departing for the hospital. There he promises a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter. After escaping from Javert, Valjean finds Cosette and pays the Thénardiers to allow him to take her, and promises to be like a father to her.
Nine years later, Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic toward the poor, is nearing death. Students Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne) and Enjolras (Aaron Tveit), together with street urchin Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone), discuss revolution. Marius later catches a glimpse of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), now a young woman, and instantly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, despite Cosette’s questioning, Valjean refuses to tell her about his past or her mother.
At a café, Enjolras organises a group of idealistic students as Lamarque’s death is announced. Meanwhile, Éponine (Samantha Barks), now Marius’s friend, leads him to Cosette, where the two profess their love for one another. Lamenting that her secret love for Marius will never be reciprocated, Éponine fatalistically decides to join the revolution. Later, an attempted robbery of Valjean’s house makes him mistakenly believe that Javert has discovered him, and he flees with Cosette. As they leave, Enjolras rallies the Parisians to revolt, and Marius sends a farewell letter to Cosette. The next day, the students interrupt Lamarque’s funeral procession and begin their revolt. Javert poses as a rebel in order to spy on them, but is quickly exposed by Gavroche and captured. During the ensuing gunfight, Éponine saves Marius at the cost of her own life, professing her love to him before she dies. Valjean, intercepting the letter from Marius to Cosette, goes to the barricade to protect Marius. After saving Enjolras from snipers, he is allowed to execute Javert. However, when the two are alone, Valjean frees Javert, telling him to run.
With the Parisians not joining the revolution as the students expected, they resolve to fight to the death. Everyone is killed but Marius, who is saved when Valjean drags his unconscious body into the sewers. Thénardier, scavenging the dead bodies, steals Marius’s ring. Valjean recovers and escapes the sewers carrying Marius, but is confronted at the exit by Javert. Javert threatens to shoot Valjean if he refuses to surrender, but Valjean ignores him. Unable to reconcile the conflict between his civil and moral duties, two things which he always considered the same, Javert commits suicide.
Later, Marius mourns for his friends but Cosette comforts him. Revealing his past to Marius, Valjean tells him he must leave because his presence endangers Cosette, and makes Marius promise never to tell her. Marius and Cosette marry; the Thénardiers crash the reception and testify that they saw Valjean carrying a murdered corpse through the sewers. Thénardier unwittingly shows Marius the ring that he stole from him as “proof.” Recognising the ring, Marius realises that it was Valjean who saved his life. Being told Valjean’s location by Thénardier, Marius and Cosette depart to find him.
As Valjean sits dying in a local convent, he perceives the spirit of Fantine appearing to take him to Heaven. Cosette and Marius rush in to bid farewell. Valjean hands Cosette his confession of his past life, and joins the spirits of Fantine, the Bishop, Enjolras, Éponine, Gavroche, and the other rebels at the barricade.
Movie2k Watch Movies – Les Misérables – Cast
Hugh Jackman … Jean Valjean
Russell Crowe … Javert
Anne Hathaway … Fantine
Amanda Seyfried … Cosette
Eddie Redmayne … Marius Pontmercy
Helena Bonham Carter … Madame Thénardier
Sacha Baron Cohen … Thénardier
Samantha Barks … Éponine
Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean, a Frenchman released from Toulon prison after 19 years of imprisonment for stealing bread and failed attempts of escaping from the prison. Around June 2011, Jackman met with producer Cameron Mackintosh to audition in New York. To prepare for the role, Jackman lost 15 pounds and later regained 30 pounds to mirror his character’s success. He avoided drinking coffee, warmed up at least 15 minutes every day, kept Ricola lozenges, drank as much as seven litres of water per day, sat in steam three times a day, took cold baths and used a wet washcloth over his face while flying. He also cited the musical’s original co-director Trevor Nunn for his training.
Russell Crowe stars as Javert, a police inspector dedicating his life to imprisoning Valjean once again. Before being cast as Javert, Crowe was initially dissatisfied with the character. On his way to Europe for a friend’s wedding, Crowe came to London and met with producer Cameron Mackintosh. On meeting with Tom Hooper, he told the director about his concerns about playing Javert, and after meeting with him, Crowe was “determined to be involved in the project and play Javert. I think it had something to do with Tom’s passion for what he was about to undertake, and he clearly understood the problems and he clearly understood the challenge.” On visiting Victor Hugo’s house in Paris, Crowe said, “[The house’s curator] told me about [19th century detective Eugene Francois] Vidocq, a man who had been both a prisoner and a policeman, the man credited with inventing undercover police work when he established the Brigade de Surete.”
Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried play Fantine and Cosette. Fantine is a struggling factory worker and mother of an illegitimate child, Cosette, who is kept by the Thénardiers until Valjean buys her from them. At the 83rd Academy Awards which Hathaway and James Franco hosted, Hathaway sang a small parody of “On My Own”, a famous song from the musical, about Hugh Jackman who would not do a song with her during the broadcast. When Hathaway was cast, she stated, “There was resistance because I was between their ideal ages for the parts—maybe not mature enough for Fantine but past the point where I could believably play Cosette.” On developing Cosette, Seyfried said, “In the little time that I had to explain Cosette and give the audience a reason [to see her as] a symbol of love and strength and light in this tragedy, I needed to be able to convey things you may not have connected with in the show.” Child actress Isabelle Allen plays the young Cosette. On working with her fellow actors, Allen said, “They gave us lots of tips and mostly [made] sure we were all OK. They were really nice.”
Eddie Redmayne plays Marius Pontmercy, a student revolutionary who is friends with the Thenardiers’ daughter, Éponine, but falls in love with Cosette. He found director Hooper’s vision “incredibly helpful”. On collaborating with Hooper, Redmayne said, “He was incredible collaborative. Certainly during the rehearsal process, we sat with Tom and the Victor Hugo book adding things.” It was Redmayne who suggested to Hooper that his character’s song, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, should begin a capella (without musical accompaniment) in order to better express Marius’ loneliness and longing. Child actor Daniel Huttlestone plays Gavroche, a streetwise urchin cooperating with the revolutionaries.
Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen play the Thénardiers, two swindling innkeepers. Hooper previously collaborated with Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech, in which she portrayed the mother of Queen Elizabeth. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter previously co-starred in the film adaptation of the musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. When Baron Cohen was cast as Thénardier, he was forced to drop out of Django Unchained.
Samantha Barks, in her film debut, plays Éponine, the Thénardiers’ destitute daughter. Having previously played the role at the 25th Anniversary concert and in the West End production, Barks said “there was similarities in playing the role—they’re the same character—but Eponine in the novel and Eponine in the musical are two kind of different girls, so to me it was the thrill of merging those two together, to get something that still had that heart and soul that we all connect to in the musical, but also the awkward, self-loathing teenager that we see in the novel, trying to merge those two together.” She also found Hugh Jackman “fascinating to learn from, and I feel like that’s the way it should be done”. Natalya Angel Wallace plays the younger Éponine.
Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle, two of the original cast members involved in the Broadway and West End productions, make appearances. Wilkinson plays the Bishop of Digne, while Ruffelle plays a prostitute. West End star Hadley Fraser also makes a cameo as the Army General. Michael Jibson plays the foreman of the factory in which Fantine works and is fired from. Patrick Godfrey has a minor role as Gillenormand, Marius’s grandfather.
Aaron Tveit … Enjolras
George Blagden … Grantaire
Killian Donnelly … Combeferre
Fra Fee … Courfeyrac
Alistair Brammer … Jean Prouvaire
Gabriel Vick … Feuilly
Hugh Skinner … Joly
Iwan Lewis … Bahorel
Stuart Neal … Lesgles
Aaron Tveit portrays Enjolras, the leader of Les Amis de l’ABC. Tveit sent in a tape for Marius, which included “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and “In My Life”, but never played in the musical. He also said that “once I got more and more familiar with the material and when I read the novel, I was like, ‘Wow this is a really, really great role,’ and I felt very much better suited for it.” Tveit, however, said the shooting of the film was “almost as grueling as a marathon.”
Several actors in the West End production of the musical appear as members of the club, including George Blagden as Grantaire; Killian Donnelly as Combeferre; Fra Fee as Courfeyrac; Alistair Brammer as Jean Prouvaire; Hugh Skinner as Joly; Gabriel Vick as Feuilly; Iwan Lewis as Bahorel; and Stuart Neal as Lesgles. Blagden was cast in January 2012.
Movie2k Watch Movies – Les Misérables – Development
In 1988, Alan Parker was considered to direct a film adaptation of the Les Misérables musical. However, in 1991, Bruce Beresford signed on to be the film’s director.
In 1992, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that the film would be co-produced by TriStar Pictures. However, the film was abandoned, leaving it stuck in development hell. In 2005, Mackintosh later confirmed that interest in turning the musical into a film adaptation had resumed during the early months of that year. Mackintosh said that he wanted the film to be directed by “someone who has a vision for the show that will put the show’s original team, including [Mackintosh], back to work.” He also said that he wanted the film audiences to make it “fresh as the actual show [itself].” In 2009, producer Eric Fellner began negotiations with Mackintosh to acquire the film’s rights and concluded it near the end of 2011. Fellner, Tim Bevan and Debra Hayward engaged William Nicholson to write a screenplay for the film. Nicholson wrote the draft within six weeks time.
The DVD/Blu-ray release of Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert confirmed an announcement of the musical’s film adaptation. Mackintosh then stated at a press conference that the plans for the film adaptation were being made.
Movie2k Watch Movies – Les Misérables – Release
The film was originally going to be released on 7 December 2012 before it was moved to 14 December. However, on 18 September 2012, the film’s release date was moved again to 25 December 2012, so as not to conflict with the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened on 14 December. Because of this, it opened alongside Django Unchained. Release date for the United Kingdom was 11 January 2013.]
On 23 November 2012, the film was screened for the first time at the Lincoln Center in New York City, which received a standing ovation from the crowd. This was followed by a screening the next day in Los Angeles, which also received positive reviews.
The film premiered on 5 December at the Empire, Leicester Square in London. Red carpet footage was screened live online in an event hosted by Michael Ball, the original Marius of the West End.
Les Misérables – Box office
As of 14 January 2013, Les Misérables earned $118,723,185 in North America and $115,100,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $233,823,185. In North America, Les Misérables opened on 25 December 2012 in 2,808 theatres placing first at the box office with $18.1 million.This amount broke the record for the highest opening day gross for a musical film, previously held by High School Musical 3: Senior Year, and was also the second highest opening day gross for a film released on Christmas Day. It earned $27.3 million in its opening weekend, placing third behind Django Unchained and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The film was released in the United Kingdom on 11 January 2013 and earned £8.1 ($13.1) million in its opening weekend, making it the largest opening weekend for a musical film, as well as Working Title.
Les Misérables – Critical response
Les Misérables received generally favourable reviews from film critics; the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes sampled 209 reviews and judged 70% of them to be positive. On Metacritic, the film achieved an average score of 63 out of 100 based on 40 reviews, signifying “generally favourable reviews”.
Robbie Collin of the Daily Telegraph gave the film five stars, saying: “Les Misérables is a blockbuster, and the special effects are emotional: explosions of grief; fireballs of romance; million-buck conflagrations of heartbreak. Accordingly, you should see it in its opening week, on a gigantic screen, with a fanatical crowd.” The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw concurred: “Even as a non-believer in this kind of “sung-through” musical, I was battered into submission by this mesmeric and sometimes compelling film,” he wrote. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave a positive review, saying that the film “is a clutch player that delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, “Besides being a feast for the eyes and ears, Les Misérables overflows with humor, heartbreak, rousing action and ravishing romance. Damn the imperfections, it’s perfectly marvelous.”
- Alain Boublil
- Amanda Seyfried
- Anniversary Concert
- Claude Michel SchöNberg
- Empire Leicester Square
- French Novel
- Golden Globe Award
- Greenwich London
- Herbert Kretzmer
- Hugh Jackman
- Illegitimate Daughter
- Jean Valjean
- Police Inspector Javert
- Political Turmoil
- Producer Cameron Mackintosh
- Tom Hooper
- Victor Hugo
- William Nicholson
- Working Title Films