It’s awards season and we’re high on great performances, extraordinary stories and mind-blowing direction.

Turning it up a notch higher with 8 Oscar nominations, 9 BAFTA nominations and 3 Golden Globe wins, including Best Picture-Musical or Comedy and Best Actor-Musical or Comedy, ‘Les Miserables’ is a cinematic experience you cannot miss.

Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech fame) directs Hugh Jackman in one of his most memorable roles yet in this musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic. Set in the post-revolution France, this period drama revolves around Jean Valjean (Jackman), an ex-con who for the want of a better life jumps parole and even after decades is ruthlessly pursued by Inspector Javert (a brilliant, brilliant Russel Crowe). Enter Fantine, (Anne Hatheway) and her little daughter Cosette, and their lives change forever.

This is a musical, so expect grand sets, larger than life situations and beyond-the-top acting. Hooper, however, has beautifully trod the thin line between a musical performance and over-acting. The end result is realistic and soul stirring. Whether it is Valjean’s helplessness, nobility, pride and strength, Javert’s cunning, stubbornness and dutibound nature or Fantine’s endless suffering, you are going to be on the edge of your seat the whole two hours. Whoever said song-and-dance is petty, go watch Anne Hathway’s soulful rendition as a woman forced into prostitution for the sake of her daughter. It’s wonderfully powerful and equally gutting. Goosebumps.

The movie is high on drama, the air thick with tension. Young Cosette, (played beautifully by poster girl Isabelle Allen) and Cosette portayed by Amanda Seyfried is a honest portrayal of a young girl full of life and hope, unaware of the trials and tribulations that have gone into giving her the life she leads. Secondary characters like her love, the idealistic revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and his friends and the heartbroken Eponine (Samantha Barks) will leave an impact in your mind.

A special mention to the versatile Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Cartner as the shrewd, cunning and despicable Monsieur and Madame Thenardier. Sheer geniuses, these two actors. Their performance takes the entire experience to another level.

Cinematically, the grand scale of production adds to the strength of this film. The music is powerful, inspiring in some places, catchy for the most part and effectively moving in entirety.

You may not be a fan of musicals, but this one’s a highly recommended watch.