The verdict is unanimous: Russell Crowe has crowed himself into semi-embarrassment, veins tense and uvula quivering, in the latest film version of the musical Les Miserables, while Anne, dear Anne Hathaway, dreaming a dream in Napoleonic France, has won and will win every supporting-actress prize around with her tonsured turn as the wretched Fantine.
Eddie Redmayne, as Marius, scores with the number Empty Chairs, a woeful lament for a foiled uprising, and Hugh Jackman is adequately reliable as Jean Valjean, the man who hoists the French flag - another post-revolution burden - like the eternal Sisyphus who goes through hell all for stealing a loaf of bread.
Did Jean Valjean suffer much? "Oh, the red coat, the ball on the ankle, a plank to sleep on, heat, cold, toil, the convicts, the thrashings, the double chain for nothing, the cell for one word; even sick and in bed, still the chain!" he told the Bishop early in Victor Hugo's novel. "Dogs, dogs are happier!"
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