Yes, I am a proud Middle-Class born. But by mastering English and the passion to read and yearn for knowledge has brought me out from the Middle Class cocoon. It may sound corny yet it’s the naked truth. With English and passion for books, I manage to have intellectual conversations and even liaising with people of the same interests; which are usually those who are born with silver spoons, well-to-do aristocrats and self-confessed elitists; and they were exposed to these kind of elements since they were young; perhaps through their parents. But for my case, none of them are inherited from my parents as we are of Middle Class – it’s the passion for books and English that really catapult my horizon to what I am today and still in the process of fathoming more knowledge.
The movie poster depicting the illegitimate child, Cosette.
Anyway like I said in my previous entry, one of my resolutions for 2013 is to immerse myself in classical literature and writing masterpieces. All these while, I am more into the current and up-to-date novels but I learn to find that actually, old celebrated literature pieces are as the matter of fact very GOOD, although the language is a little bit hard to decipher and “too flowery”. For example, I am in the process of completing “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain which was hailed as one of the American Greatest Novels. I admit that I am having hard time to concentrate on the novel because the novel used Midwestern dialogue as the narration language to tell the whole story. The problem with this is that you won’t understand the meaning if you were to read it LITERALLY; instead you have to READ OUT THE sentences in order for you to understand; for instances, from “Huckleberry Finn”, page 196 :-
“What makes me feel so bad dis time ‘uz bekase I hear sumpn over yonder on de bank like a whack, er a slam, while ago, en it mine me er de time I treat my ‘Lizabeth. She warn’t on’y ’bout fo’ year ole en she tuck de sk’yarlet fever…..”
Now, WHAT ONE EARTH IS THIS???? It doesn’t make sense if you read it literally! BUT, if you read out and utter one by one, you more or less could get the meaning :-
“What makes me feel so bad this time is because I hear something over yonder on the bank like a whack or a slam, while ago, and it reminds me of the time I treat my Elizabeth. She weren’t only about for years old and she tuck the scarlet fever….”
In process. Coming soon, Insya ALLAH. Hahhahaa…..!
It’s crazy right? But I think it’s kinda fun to venture in this type of evergreen reading. Nevertheless, I am putting this on halt as I want to focus more on the 3rd installment of Millenium trilogy, penned by late Stieg Larsson which is “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” (watch out for it later!).
Victor Hugo, the french author behind “Les Miserables” & “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
Subtle sexual gestures and innuendos in Disney’s version. That’s where I learned that Victor Hugo wrote “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame”.
Anyway, back to the gist of the story. I have known the writing of the French Victor Hugo since I was 12 years old; thanks to Disney’s adaptation of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. I was thrilled with the subtle sexuality introduced in the movie via Esmeralda and being a fanatic Disney freak, I tried to find what inspired this film and later I learned that it was actually an adaptation from the novel penned by Victor Hugo. Now, apart from “Notre Dame”, there is another celebrated writing by Victor Hugo and that is “Les Miserables”. The name is very familiar and once a while crept into the papparazis’ blogs on Hollywood stars who do some Broadway performances. I know the name “Les Miserables” and I know that it is a celebrated musical play BUT I never bother to fathom the storyline; until NOW.
Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman & Amanda Seyfried at “Les Miserables” premiere.
As a Hollywood aficionado (just at my fingertips! LOL!), new movies are what I look for every year. And so happened that this year, Working Title Films together with Universal Pictures had decided to produce “Les Miserables” in the Hollywood silver screen adaptation albeit there were countless of adaptations done prior to this. What really attract the people to see this film was the all-star studded ensemble of the Hollywood casts and the excitement to see them singing LIVE ala Broadway style while illustrating their expressions for their characters respectively! You know, being a Hollywood silverscreen actor is one thing where you just act in blockbuster movies BUT being a Broadway actor is another thing where the dialogues are actually SONGS! So, apart from having ability to act, the actors must also have commendable strong voices!
Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. Spectacular performance!
The novel was written by Victor Hugo in 1862 and strongly revolves around patriotism, social castes and sexuality. The protagonist of the story is Jean Valjean, a man who was imprisoned for nearly 19 years just because he stole bread to feed his sister’s child. He was released by an Inspector named Javert who happened to be a man full of dedication to his work. Valjean had somehow violated the parole and was on the hunting mission by Javert. Valjean flee and built himself a new image. Several years later he became a mayor of a town. A woman named Fantine who worked in the factory owned by Valjean was falsely accused as being a promiscuous for having an illegitimate child named Cosette. Fantine was forced to find money for Cosette and resort into prostitution. In one encounter, Valjean saved Fantine from being framed by her customer because she refused to have sex with him. To cut the story short, Fantine died and Valjean promised to take care of Cosette as long as he lived because he felt ashamed for not investigating Fantine’s case when she was working with him that she was forced to resort to prostitution.
Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. Very persistent! Well, he used to be a singer. Wow, actors are very multi-talented people, no?
The novel and the film actually contain several sections, acts and subplots but the main essence is about the conflict between Valjean and Javert. As for the 2012 film version, Valjean is played by Hugh Jackman while Javert is played by Russel Crowe. I can vouch that Hugh Jackman is so perfect as Valjean!!!! He embodies the soul and the agony of an ex-convict who was trying to find light in his life. His expressions were priceless, he cried while he sang. Amazing! Who would have thought that the macho gungho Wolverine is actually Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables”?? But for Hollywood aficionado, we already know that he is capable because Hugh Jackman has the background in live performances ala Broadway and he even hosted the Tony Awards (Broadway awards equivalent to Oscars)!!!
And who would have thought that both the protagonist and antagonist are played by Aussies??? But they deserved the roles!
Anne Hathaway as Fantine, single mother who was forced to become prostitute to support her illegitimate daughter, Cosette after being duped by her lover.
Apart from Hugh Jackman, another show-stealer would be Anne Hathaway who played the role Fantine. Although she just appeared in several scenes, but the perfectionist lass (yeps, she admitted that!) nailed the part and even successfully sang the epic haunting song that often affiliated to “Les Miserables”, which is “I Dreamed A Dream”. With effortless strong and beautiful voice, she injected emotions in the rendition – she cried and she gasped while singing the song. It was not spectacular ala Beyonce, but it touches the soul. You could feel the agony of Fantine through her voice; the emotion of being duped by a man she trusted and ultimately resort to prostitution, a way of getting money that is not respectable but it keeps bread on the tables. No wonder, she is getting nomination nods for Best Supporting Actress in the upcoming Golden Globe Awards! Yeay!
Amanda Seyfried as childlike and cute Cosette. She has beautiful voice. I hope she can have a lot of meatier roles after these and showcase her talents.
As the matter of fact, the whole ensemble casts of 2012 film depiction of “Les Miserables” is AWESOME! I mean Amanda Seyfried as the innocent and childlike Cosette (she is beautiful with high-toned beautiful voice! I just hope that she will have more box-offices and roles that could showcase her talents! She has climbed so far from the “Mean Girls” day and she will be starring in the biopic of legendary porn star Linda Lovelace; I hope she can get some recognition for her talents!); Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter provide the comic relieves as The Thenardiers; and last but not least, Samantha Barks the girl who played Eponine!!!! I never knew who she was until now. Apparently according to Wikipedia, she is from Isle Of Man (Manx) and she has been playing Eponine for several performances. I thought her voice was beautiful and she captured the street-wise facade of Eponine, a girl who loved Marius Pontmercy (who love Cosette) but no love in return.
Samantha Barks as Eponine. I think she nailed the part. Good job!
All the actors were singing LIVE during the filming where a small earphone was attached so that they could hear the sound of piano music being played and they sang it all lungs screeched out in that very moment. In that sense, the fragility and rawness were captured on the camera. Amazing! I think Tom Hooper as the director did a great job ALTHOUGH I have to admit that watching Bill Condon’s “Dreamgirls” was a lot more satisfying and enigmatic. Still, it’s a good film adaptation. I rate this movie as 4 stars out of 5 but thousand applause for Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman & Samantha Barks.
Aaron Tveit as Enjolras.
Sometimes I envy the Westerners. They can do a film based on patriotism – infused with love of course and and it turns into box office. Malaysians have the literature masterpieces as well but unfortunately we don’t appreciate what we have. I do feel sad about that.
I am definitely will try to read the novel version of “Les Miserables” as well as other celebrated classic novels although more or less I have known the stories like “Jane Austen”, “Bride & Prejudices” and et cetera. It’s fun to have intelligent and artistic conversation with other people out there. English and my passion to read certainly bridge me out from my Middle-Class world and broaden the horizon. But I am still a proud Middle-Class who never forget the roots!
The famous novel cover of “Les Miserables” by Emille Bayard in 1862 edition – The Portrait of Cosette and has been used to depict “Les Miserables” plays and performances ever since, until now.
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame
Anne Hathaway singing the song of a regret and where innocence and pure love was shattered by a scum who took her as only an amuse. I think we all can relate to this. In life, we crossed our paths with such people and we experienced the same agonies and melancholy. Alhamdulillah, we have moved on and met someone new who is better and worth-living, but the scars remain as reminder in life. And we never forget.