LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews

ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 11:31am
There are a million LES MISERABLES threads, but I thought it'd be nice to have a thread with official reviews from the critics in the spirit of LightlightMike's opening night threads.
Here's Variety with a mixed-to-positive review:

Hathaway's turn is brief but galvanic. Her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," captured in a single take, represents the picture's high point, an extraordinary distillation of anguish, defiance and barely flickering hope in which the lyrics seem to choke forth like barely suppressed howls of grief. Hathaway has been ripe for a full-blown tuner showcase ever since she gamely sang a duet with Jackman at the Oscars in 2009, and she fulfills that promise here with a solo as musically adept as it is powerfully felt.

This sequence fully reveals the advantages of Hooper's decision to have the thesps sing directly oncamera, with minimal dubbing and tweaking in post. As carefully calibrated with the orchestrations (by Anne Dudley and Stephen Metcalfe) in Simon Hayes' excellent sound mix, the vocals sound intense, ragged and clenched with feeling, in a way that at times suggests neorealist opera. A few beats and notes may be missed here and there, but always in a way that serves the immediacy of the moment and the truth of the emotions being expressed, giving clear voice to the drama's underlying anger and advocacy on behalf of the poor, marginalized and misunderstood.

Hathaway's exit leaves a hole in the picture, which undergoes a tricky tonal shift as Valjean rescues Fantine's young daughter, Cosette (Isabelle Allen), from her cruel guardians, the Thenardiers. Inhabited with witchy, twitchy comic abandon by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, not terribly far removed from the grotesques they played in "Sweeney Todd," these innkeepers amusingly send up their venal, disreputable and utterly unsanitary lifestyle in "Master of the House," a memorably grotesque number that also marks the point, barely halfway through, when "Les Miserables" starts to splutter.

As it shifts from one dynamically slanted camera angle to another via Melanie Ann Oliver and Chris Dickens' busy editing, the picture seems reluctant to slow down and let the viewer simply take in the performances. That hectic, cluttered quality becomes more pronounced as the story lurches ahead to the 1823 Paris student uprisings, where the erection of a barricade precipitates and complicates any number of subplots




Variety
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
Updated On: 12/6/12 at 11:31 AM
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 11:42am
The Hollywood Reporter is mixed-to-negative, saying that the Broadway show opened to "generally bad reviews" and showing a general dislike for the source material like some people predicted:
The first thing to know about this Les Miserables is that this creation of Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, is, with momentary exceptions, entirely sung, more like an opera than a traditional stage musical. Although not terrible, the music soon begins to slur together to the point where you'd be willing to pay the ticket price all over again just to hear a nice, pithy dialogue exchange between Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe rather than another noble song that sounds a lot like one you just heard a few minutes earlier. There were 49 identifiable musical numbers in the original show, and one more has been added here.
Greatly compounding the problem is that director Hooper, in his first outing since conquering Hollywood two years ago with his debut feature, The King's Speech, stages virtually every scene and song the same manner, with the camera swooping in on the singer and thereafter covering him or her and any other participants with hovering tight shots; there hasn't been a major musical so fond of the close-up since Joshua Logan attempted to photograph Richard Harris' tonsils in Camelot. Almost any great musical one can think of features sequences shot in different ways, depending upon the nature of the music and the dramatic moment; for Hooper, all musical numbers warrant the same monotonous approach of shoving the camera right in the performer's face; any closer and their breath would fog the lens, as, in this instance, the actors commendably sang live during the shooting, rather than being prerecorded.
With Hooper's undoubted encouragement, the eager thespians give it their all here, for better and for worse. The “live” vocal performances provide an extra vibrancy and immediacy that is palpable, though one cannot say that the technique is necessarily superior in principle, as it was also used by Peter Bogdanovich on his famed folly, At Long Last Love.

The Hollywood Reporter
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 12:01pm
I thought there was a review "embargo" until next week?
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 12:04pm
I thought so too but a lot of the time Variety and Hollywood Reporter posts the review early. We probably won't see more until next week.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
willep
Broadway Legend
joined:9/20/08
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 12:14pm
The Daily Mail gives it five stars.
Vive Les Miserables!
Franciouqu
Chorus Member
joined:12/1/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 04:09pm
Very Mixed Reviews, You know you hear great word of mouth like on a movie and people say its the greatest thing ever. And then very mixed reviews happen. You kind of feel like you have been lied to.
Everyone Said it will get the Oscar and now that is so unlikely it makes me sounds foolish for paying any attention to that. Like the Master I was told it will get great reviews and it did.
Updated On: 12/6/12 at 04:09 PM
E.Davis
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 04:55pm
Mixed Reviews do not necessarily knock it out of OSCAR contention.
"I think lying to children is really important, it sets them off on the right track" -Sherie Rene Scott-
ReggieonBway
Broadway Star
joined:1/29/11
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 05:02pm
Having seen the film, I'm not getting what critics are getting their panties in a bunch over concerning the camera work - I thought the closeups were incredibly powerful. I guess my cinematic tastes aren't sophisticated enough to hate things like that.
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 05:58pm
Audience response has been wonderful. Granted.. these are over pumped screening audiences. I think ( and we will see ) that mainstream reviews will be favorable.
HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
Updated On: 12/6/12 at 05:58 PM
FANtomFollies
Featured Actor
joined:4/5/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 06:22pm
i think it's also important to remember that many critics simply aren't fans of the source material. I've loved almost everything I've seen of the film so far.
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 06:39pm
Re Oscar: one word, CRASH.

But this movie would have to be a masterwork to please everyone. The original material was always weighed negatively (by some) for its bald dependency on pop to create emotional resonance. It's damn near impossible to explore it anew with that wall of pop-infused, open-throated venting coming at you for nearly three hours. It can be glorious in its melodic impact, especially to the die-hards, but it's always been a period piece married to a kind of Euro-pop sensibility that some people found wearying in its sameness. Putting it on film wouldn't change those hearts and minds. To me these reviews point up the issues in the material more than Hooper.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
Franciouqu
Chorus Member
joined:12/1/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 06:53pm
The Master Will win best Picture
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:08pm
^ No way in hell....all due respect.
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
broadwaybabywannabe2
Featured Actor
joined:11/9/11
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:26pm
thx willep for posting the Daily Mail review...I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE...

and p.s. THE MASTER was the most god-awful movie i have seen since BENJAMIN BUTTHOLE, that brad pitt piece of ****...no offense to brad pitt mind u...:)
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:29pm
Add me to the voices who think an oscar for The Master would be a very bad choice as well as highly unlikely. Not that I think Les Mis winning is likely either.
songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:30pm
Reading all the reviews it would appear that the ones who dont like it dont seem to like the musical/musicals or the fact it's all sung through
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
Franciouqu
Chorus Member
joined:12/1/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:35pm
I listen and only listen to the Guardian thank you
broadwaybabywannabe2
Featured Actor
joined:11/9/11
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:35pm
the "buzz" here in Hollywoodland is that LES MIS will get a ton of Oscar nominations, and may win for the artsy stuff it does well...sets, costumes, cinematography, but will most likely not win any actual acting or directing awards...it's a tuff year when even LINCOLN may not win Best Picture...
songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:39pm
Well i would be very surprised if Hathaway does not walk away with an Oscar, her reviews are incredible
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
Franciouqu
Chorus Member
joined:12/1/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:57pm
I do not think it deserves even to be nominated
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 07:57pm
Hathaway's biggest challenger is probably Sally Field.

Anyway, while I'm devouring every review I can get my hands on, what I'm really looking forward to are the reviews from critics I read regularly enough to understand and respect - AO Scott, David Edelstein, and the like. "Some random person from a UK tabloid" isn't quite as good a source of information on the actual movie. (As opposed to building a mental picture of critical consensus.)
Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:02pm
@ Bwaybabywannabe: to a fellow west-coaster, I second the big thumbs down on THE MASTER-- vastly overpraised by critics and looks like it won't reap more than a couple of nominations either (it's time in the sun is past). However I take great exception to your dismissal of BENJAMIN BUTTON!! Loooooved that film to death! Any movie that took the pains to recreate the Act II dream Ballet in Carousel was already great in my book.

But we digress...
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:04pm
BENJAMIN BUTTON is one of the great achievements in film to date.
"I think Glee is way too sharp, smart, witty, clever and emotionally confronting for the masses." - Dave19 - "What's next? Snow Black and the 7 Swaggers? Shasquirta and the Beast? 101 Weavematians? Willis in Ghettoland?" - Dave19, in reference to the new ANNIE remake.
DAME
Broadway Legend
joined:4/15/04
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:08pm
I think it is the year of ARGO.
HUSSY POWER! ------ HUSSY POWER!
Franciouqu
Chorus Member
joined:12/1/12
LES MISERABLES Film Official Reviews
Posted: 12/6/12 at 08:11pm
Actually The Reader was and Milk I was so upset that Slumdog won best picture