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Anne Hathaway Shines Brightest as Fantine in 'Les Miserables'

By  January 2, 2013

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What happens when you have an all-star superhero cast with the likes of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Cat-woman (Anne Hathaway), Gladiator (Russell Crowe) and Red Riding Hood (Amanda Seyfried) all in one movie? One of them is bound to upstage the others; not with their super-powers, but with their singing voices. And in this highly-anticipated musical, Anne hits a home-run performance with I Dreamed A Dream.

In Tom Hooper's Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway plays the unfortunate heroine Fantine, a factory worker turned prostitute who is forced to sell her body (and teeth) in order to provide for her daughter Cosette. Fantine is in utter despair and feels humiliated as a degraded martyr, yet possess a fury so raw as she spits at Jean Valjean's face for being dismissive when she was fired and thrown into the streets.

Looking wrenched with trimmed hair, Anne belts out a heartbreaking rendition of I Dreamed A Dream. Despite her small role in the film, Anne as Fantine provided the most impact by devouring the song and scene with full of emotions.

She said: "It came right after I cut off my hair so it was a little bit of an intense one-two punch. It wasn't my favorite scene to shoot just because there was so much pressure of expectation. I had gone to Tom (the director) and said I was starting to feel nervous about a week before. He said: "Listen. It's not an iconic song. You mustn't think about it like that. It's this woman's howl. It's her processing what's just happened to her." So I felt very protected; I knew what I wanted to do."

I first heard I Dreamed A Dream when Susan Boyle performed it on Britain’s Got Talent. While Susan's performance was more a vocal powerhouse, Anne's delivery was haunting and raw. Both versions are completely different though. Susan was singing as herself and was judged solely on her singing ability. Anne was believable as the despairing Fantine and succeeded in evoking such passion and agony.

Critics have already compared Anne Hathaway's role to Jennifer Hudson's Effie White in Dreamgirls. Having already earned a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Supporting Actress, there is no doubt she will be a shoo-in for another Oscar nod. Anne should really start rehearsing for her acceptance speech.

 

Even if you do not fancy musical theater, it is worth watching this film for Anne's performance alone.


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