By Renee’ Collins

Rating: 4 (Out of 5 Reels)

I vaguely remember seeing this play several years ago but I don’t remember too much about it truthfully.  My favorite play is PHANTOM OF THE OPERA which I have seen several times live and as a film.  In nineteenth- century France, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried).  A decision changes their lives forever.

I am well aware of Jackman’s singing abilities because I was fortunate enough to see him on Broadway in A BOY FROM OZ several years ago.  Jackman is an absolutely spectacular singer, performer and actor.  Don’t get me wrong some of his roles are better than others but overall he is a cut above because he is so versatile and it doesn’t hurt that he is easy on the eyes either.  Who knew Crowe could carry a tune, he does a great job in his role as Javert.  I had seen Hathaway sing and act before and have been struck recently by how versatile she has become.  Mention must be made of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter who portray a thieving couple out to get whatever they can from anyone in any situation.  Both are well cast in their roles and complement each other perfectly.  I don’t know what it is about Carter but she plays a wonderful villain and has done so many times.  Her portrayal as the deranged Bellatrix Lestrange in the HARRY POTTER series comes to mind.

Almost every word in this film is sung which takes a bit of getting used to but wasn’t a problem for me.  This film is rich visually; meaning the costumes, sets and overall effects even though the story explores the miserable aspects of life in nineteenth-century France.   Keep in mind that this film is two-hours and forty minutes but it is well worth a look during this holiday season.

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