Directed by Tom Hooper, Les Miserables (2012) may be the most naturalistic movie musical I’ve seen, though its theatrical character never disappears.
Most if not all the filming of this well-known stage work is smoothly successful, despite a few grating singing voices. Hooper eventually has Anne Hathaway, the movie’s Fantine, looking ugly but, worse, she makes a spectacle of herself when she emotes. The good news is that Hathaway sings well enough and is moving, insufficient as this is.
The song lyrics in Les Miz are not very literate or sophisticated—they’re just okay—but the sober and warm music is admirable. The presence of political revolutionaries makes the Christian vision in the film’s finale rather odd, but, well, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and Fantine are there too, and it is uplifting.