"Les Misérables" is the well told story of Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean, who is released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself in post-revolutionary France while evading the ruthless and persistent Inspector Javert for decades.
Of course, when you have a film adaptation of a hugely successful Broadway musical, there's often cynicism.
I have to say right off the bat I am a huge fan of the stage version, having seen it at least three times, so my expectations were high. If you are a fan of "Les Mis" the musical, Tom Hooper's vision for this film does not disappoint.
From the opening scene to the last, the visuals are gorgeous, dark, dirty and gloomy. Hooper takes you inside the guts and gutters of Les Mis, where the stage version cannot.
Typically, the soundtrack for a movie musical is recorded months in advance, and the actors mime to playback during filming. However, on this film, every song was recorded live on set to capture the spontaneity of the performances.
Hugh Jackman does an amazing job as Valjean, and although his vocals may not be what you're expecting, he is Valjean.
Russell Crowe plays Inspector Javert and does so surprisingly brilliantly. You don't know whether to hate him or respect his audacity.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter both gave show-stopping comic relief with hilarious performances.
For my taste, Anne Hathaway was a bit too dramatic for her role, but she has an amazing voice. Amanda Seyfried's performance was mediocre at best.
Some will not like the pacing of the movie. For others, it will be the adaptation and will see this as flawed. But I adored it.