To take the female lead in Les Mis, Anne Hathaway was the obvious choice. You might even call her the safe choice. But she is, nonetheless, a great choice. This movie isn’t vying for breakout stars; it’s roping in all the classics. Hugh Jackman as the hero, Jean Valjean? Yes, it’s none too surprising, and none too risky. But it’ll be none too disappointing either. Same goes for Russell Crowe as the villainous Inspector Javert.
This even applies to the director, Tom Hooper. Last year, Hooper served us The King’s Speech, as classic and traditional as a movie can get. It was still good, but it was a shoe-in from the start for the Best Picture.
The real question is: does this indicate a problem? Does the “Better Safe than Sorry” mindset that is enveloping this project (classic musical, classic cast, classic director) indicate a cynical deterrence from anything new, unfamiliar, or different in any way? Or is it simply an appreciation of a certain type of talent, and an application of that talent in a way that will produce an enjoyable, worthwhile film?
It’s probably the latter. Entertaining the former theory is really just looking for things to scorn. And while I love looking for things to scorn, I also love Les Miserables. And I love Hugh Jackman. And I love Anne Hathaway.
And in the end, would you rather have a heart full of scorn…or a heart full of love?