I must admit, I'm not a big fan of screen musicals. I always believed musicals work better as live theater. "Le Miz", is a beloved show and pretty much critic proof so I approached this film cautiously. My attitude about musicals isn't changed. I don't mind the musical numbers but really can't stand it when actors have to "sing" the dialog that bridges the songs. Having got that out of way, I will admit, the film is still very entertaining.
Hugh Jackman is excellent throughout as Jean Valijean, the poor tortured soul chased throughout the film by Inspector Javert, played with appropriate intensity by Russell Crowe. Mr. Crowe may not have the best singing voice in the cast but he does a good job with vocals that match his character. Anne Hathaway is getting plenty of accolades as Fantine, deservingly so as she knocks it out of the park with "I Dreamed A Dream". Rounding out the cast is Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, and Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the comic relief, Thenardier and his wife.
Director Tom Hooper makes a bold move by having the actors sing live and it pays off with wonderful performances (except for that annoying "singing dialog" in between). Mr. Baron Cohen and Ms. Bonham Carter are a perfect pair and pull off a rousing version of "Master of The House". Ms. Seyfried and Mr. Redmayne are well cast as the young lovers but their singing is just adequate.
The cinematography is beautiful as are the costumes and the seamless CGI work. Mr. Hooper does an admirable job bringing the musical to the screen but with the exception of Ms. Hathaway, it still lacks the thrill and emotion of live theater.