Kong’s Korner: My Miserable Misjudgment

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HUGH JACKMAN takes us on the journey of Jean Valjean.

This winter break I watched “Les Miserables,” the movie musical, in the theatres. I grudgingly walked into the theatre and sat down in my seat, preparing myself for two hours and thirty minutes of singing. I had never watched a movie musical in theatres before and I did not plan on it…that was until my family dragged me along on to the theatres on Christmas Day. After the first ten minutes of the film, I was delighted by the fact that I had to use the restroom—an excuse to leave my seat. However, something inside me wanted to stay. It might have been the fast paced plot or the intriguing melodies of Hugh Jackman’s character, Jean Valjean, but I sat in my seat for the entire two hours and thirty minutes holding in my human urges.

“Les Miserables” was a brave endeavor for director Tom Hooper who is best known for his movie “The King’s Speech.” Movie musicals are pretty commonplace yet have usually done well in the eyes of critics (Sound of Music, Chicago, etc.), but “Les Miserables” has a different quality to it that sets it apart from the rest in its genre. Hooper asked his cast to sing their lines and their solos live—in front of the camera—in front of the world. This idea is what allowed the cast to convey inner emotions in their words and voices, rather than having them mouth the words as they play a studio recorded version in their ears.

Tom Hooper’s cast was loaded with talent and has been favored in the eyes of critics as well. “Les Miserables” was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three Golden Globe awards. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who plays Fantine, were nominated for an Academy Award for best actor and best supporting actress, respectively. Amanda Seyfried, who plays Cosette, is no newcomer to movie musicals, having starred as Sophie in the film adaptation of “Mama Mia.” Aaron Tveit, who plays Enjolras, and Samantha Bark, who plays Eponine, are both household names on Broadway as well. Other notable talents include Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe, and Colm Wilkinson.

So you may ask me, “Why is this movie so special in your eyes?” The answer is simple. I have never experienced so many emotions within two hours and thirty minutes of my life. From laughing to feeling downright depressed, “Les Miserables” took me on a hectic emotional roller coaster that I am honestly grateful for. Jean Valjean’s journey through life made me think to myself, “Who in the world, could be so inherently kind and virtuous?” Valjean suffered 19 years in prison and slavery after stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child, he adopted the child of a prostitute and raised her as his own, and he carried a man through the sewers to save his life—a man he had never met. It was this amazing journey capped off with some of the best music I have ever heard in my life, which had me fall in love with this movie.

“Les Miserables” had been out since Christmas so it is only going to be playing in theatres for a few more weeks. If you are brave enough to trust me (and have three hours to spare), buy a ticket and watch this movie. Call me crazy…borderline insane…“Les Miserables” is my pick for 2012’s best film.