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If Robert Downey Jr. is the poster boy of Marvel, then Hugh Jackman is the star child of the X-Men franchise. Not only has the actor’s performance as Wolverine been dubbed the ultimate representation of the character by fans – exceeding even appearances in comic strips and animated series – but he’s also been with the franchise longer than any other actor.
As much praise as Jackman receives for his portrayal of Wolverine, though, it admittedly distracts from the many other excellent performances he’s given for films that have nothing to do with the superhero genre. One of these is the 2012 musical drama Les Misérables, and it’ll arrive on Netflix on August 16th.
Based on the acclaimed novel by French writer Victor Hugo, Les Misérables – often called Les Mis for short – tells the tightly interconnected stories of a few dozen Parisians in post-Napoleonic France. Jackman stars as protagonist Jean Valjean, a former criminal who reintegrates into society only to end up in a situation that could once again cost him everything.
As far as the cast is concerned, Jackman is joined by other big names like Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne and Helena Bonham Carter. The film’s large ensemble reflects the book on which it’s based, which is over fourteen hundred pages long and filled to the brim with lush descriptions of the Parisian environment as well as extensive analyses of the psyches of its inhabitants.
Although the film was well-received upon its release, scoring several Oscar nominations and wins, it’s not a perfect movie. Among other things, critics have contested Hollywood’s decision to reduce a story that could fill up several seasons of television into a single albeit long film.
That being said, Les Misérables is still a well respected and widely-loved movie and you’d be wise to check it out on Netflix next month.