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'Les Misérables' features great acting as well as singing

'Les Misérables' stars Hugh Jackman in a piece of ideal casting.

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'Les Misérables' stars Anne Hathaway (r.) and Hugh Jackman.

Universal Pictures/AP

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Les Misérables” is a great big behemoth of a musical, but I rarely felt weighted down by it. It’s based on the Cameron Mackintosh production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s French stage musical – one of those shows, like “Cats” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” that always seems to running somewhere in the world. It passed me by, though. I come to the movie fresh.

Or at least partially so. The great big behemoth of a source novel by Victor Hugo has been filmed numerous times; its narrative has been recycled endlessly (most memorably in “The Fugitive” TV series and, less memorably, the movie).

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