There's a slightly uncomfortable feeling that overwhelms you when the sight and sound of Russell Crowe in full voice is what greets you in the opening scenes.
Yes, Les Miserables is a musical turned into a movie spectacular, but Crowe, who plays ruthless policeman Javert, is not exactly there for his voice. Nor may you say is Hugh Jackman, the star of the show as the reborn Jean Valjean.
Once you get your head around the singing of these gents, this is a brilliant journey into 19th century France after the revolution.
Valjean, known as Prisoner 24601, is released from prison after a 19-year slog for stealing bread.
When he is given another chance by a kindly church minister, he starts his life afresh doing only good.
He rejoins the story when he comes to the aid of an injured and dying Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and vows to take care of her daughter Cosette.
As Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) grows into a young lady, with Valjean as a father figure, the shadow of Javert is never far away.
When Cosette and Valjean cross paths with young revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne), it is clear their lives will never be the same.
As the June rebellion nears, Valjean must decide whether he will put himself in danger and fight the authorities and risk capture.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter steal the show as the wicked innkeepers, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier.
Their bawdy ballads are not to be missed, as are their thieving ways.
Les Miserables has been a stage epic for years but now a new audience gets to revel in the wonderful music and storyline.
Rating: 4 / 5