'VIVA la France!'
The well-known phrase was heard numerous times in Tom Hooper's adaption of Les Miserables, the story of a band of revolutionaries fighting for freedom in 18th century Paris.
Speculation of this latest retelling of Victor Hugo's timeless 1862 novel had risen for the past few years, particularly with the ensemble cast of Aussies Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, as well as female lead Anne Hathaway.
For those who don't know the story, it begins in 1815 with prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who for the past 19 years has been imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread (and for many escape attempts) and who is seeking redemption despite being hunted for decades by the obsessive policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole.
Years pass and Valjean, who agrees to care for the daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway), a miserly office worker forced into prostitution, finds himself as the guardian of Cosette (played by Amanda Seyfried as an adult) amidst revolutionary drama in Paris.
Les Mis (as it is more commonly known) has been presented on stage and screen since it was first published, and as a musical, it can be at times difficult to follow with constant singing but that would be the only negative in what is almost a flawless film.
The sheer elegance of the 18th century Paris backdrop is without a doubt sensational as it gives the audience an understanding of what life must have been like for the proletariats of the time.
An example is that of Hathaway's Fantine, who after getting let go from her factory job, is forced to sell her hair for just a few francs, and is seen in tears getting her hair chopped off by an elderly homeless woman. You definitely feel for the girl who as a single parent, is doing whatever she can to get money to provide for her young daughter.
The film explores many different themes including politics, justice, religion and love. But aside from the serious hard-hitting drama, there are moments of comedy that will put a smile on a somewhat teary face (guaranteed a few audience members will leave the cinema having shed a tear or two).
The comedy comes in the form of Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron-Cohen.
The pair play a husband and wife intent on causing mischief among what is an incredibly hard time for Parisians.
But it is the passion and drive of the revolutionaries, made up of men, women and children, fighting for a fair go during the 1832 June rebellion.