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My latest article for Quadrant Online:

I  am not sure whether Steve Kates is simply being curmudgeonly in his  review of the film of the musical Les Miserables, or really does believe  it to be “a two hour and 40 minute indulgence in the worst kind of  socialist idiocies.” If the latter, he is wrong.


The  film has several faults. Chief among them is Russell Crowe, who employs a single facial expression throughout; surly. He does surly very  well, but one expression is not enough to cover the complicated  character of Inspector Javert, who struggled with the same questions as  Valjean but chose differently. Also, Crowe can’t sing, or certainly not  well enough to convey convincingly the drama of Javert’s righteous  conviction, or at the end, his inner struggle.

Hugh  Jackman, by way of contrast, employs three facial expressions; happy,  sad and troubled. Troubled also covers angry. Three expressions in a  single movie prove that he is an actor of great depth, so it is likely  he will win a Golden Globe in 2013, or perhaps some other plastic  statue.

The  real surprise was Anne Hathaway, whom I have always dismissed as an  airhead. Her depiction of Fantine creates some genuinely moving moments  in a film otherwise painted in lavish strokes of mere sentimentality.

Read the rest at Quadrant Online.

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