Review Roundup (12/11): LES MISERABLES Movie
Christmas can't get here fast enough, because that's when LES MISERABLES hits the big screen. Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year.
Helmed by The King's Speech's Academy Award-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
The movie premiered last night in New York City, and you can check out what the critics are saying below!
Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Tom Hooper's extravaganza, big-screen telling of the beloved musical "Les Miserables" is as relentlessly driven as the ruthless Inspector Javert himself. It simply will not let up until you've Felt Something — powerfully and repeatedly — until you've touched the grime and smelled the squalor and cried a few tears of your own.
Nicole Christine, Independent: To say that Les Miserables is going to be a hit is putting it mildly. Unlike the opening night of Trevor Nunn's Barbican production, which produced poor reviews but staggering box office, this new production – which gives the characters of Jean Valjean, Fantine, Cosette a forever life – is going to go down in history for the way it tells a musical tale on the big screen.
Sydnee Watlow, Daily Mirror: Russell Crowe is a solid, uniformed presence as brooding baddie Javert while opposite hunk number Hugh Jackman is conflicted and formal (but not stuffy) as he smoulders as the heroic Jean Valjean – even after we are introduced to him in a prison camp. Anne Hathaway looked striking too – but her performance had even more impact. She is stunningly good as the tragic Fantine.
Drew, McWeeny, Hitflix: It's interesting to see very different performance styles up against each other in the film. Jackman, as I said, is at home here, and he gives a wonderful performance as Valjean. He plays the anger, the sorrow, the brief moments of joy, all with nuance and skill, and his voice is fantastic. Eddie Redmayne is probably the big revelation of the film, and he has a great singing voice as well. Seyfried is very pretty as Cosette, and she's got a sweet little trill of a voice, but as is often the case with "the love interest," she's very underwritten, and it's a tough role to make interesting. Samantha Barks actually fares better with her brief turn as Eponine, and much of the cast scores even in small moments. Perhaps the most controversial casting decision in the film was Russell Crowe, and it's true that he doesn't have the same sort of musical theater background as Jackman.
Scott Chitwood, ComingSoon: For those like me who don't regularly watch musicals, it does take a while to get used to everybody singing all of the time. There are no breaks here where characters deliver lines of dialogue. They sing every single line in the film. Fortunately the film is kicked off by Hugh Jackman and he sells it well. Jackman comes from a theatrical background, so he's in his element here. It doesn't take you long to roll with the musical thing. And the fact that they filmed the singing live on set and not with lip syncing to a pre-recorded track adds an interesting dimension to it. This is especially the case as they do long takes with all of the actors. The end result is something different yet interesting.
Grant Rollings, Sun Online: Because Tom Hooper has embraced the musical like no other director before. All the cast sang live on set, which produces an intensity of emotion missing in films such as Chicago. The moment Anne Hathaway's sunken yet angelic face fills the screen, as she sings I Dreamed A Dream with her voice cracking while it tastes a Mississippi sized tear, is one I won't forget.
Wesley Lovell, CinemaSight: Political statements aside, Les Misérables remains the crowd-pleasing sensation it was nearly thirty years ago. While the revolutionary aspect of the film is but a small aspect of the grander theme of atonement and redemption as part of Valjean's character development, there's no question that both play intimately well together and that the end result is a rowsing and celebratory experience. Not since the glory days of the movie musical in the 1950's and 1960's has a film so effectively captured an emotional zeitgeist. Easily comparable to the likes of West Side Story, The Sound of Music or Oliver!, Les Misérables is a musical for the ages. It's my personal favorite production from the last decade and will likely rank as one of my all-time favorites.
David Edelstein, NY Magazine: The tasteless bombardment that is Les Misérables would, under most circumstances, send audiences screaming from the theater, but the film is going to be a monster hit and award winner, and not entirely unjustly. After 30 or so of its 157 minutes, you build up a tolerance for those it's-alive-alive-alive! close-ups and begin to admire the gumption—along with the novelty of being worked over by such a big, shameless Broadway musical without having to pay Broadway prices. The authors (there are four credited screenwriters) have pared down Victor Hugo's great wallow of a novel to its dumb, pious moral (Christian forgiveness always wins, though you might not live to break out the Champagne), but the show has been audience-tested for decades and defiantly holds the screen, much like its French revolutionaries at the barricades.
Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail: I've seen the film three times and each time the film seemed to grow in stature. I go to bed with the songs from Les Miserables ringing in my ears. I think of One More Day, Red and Black, Do you Hear the People Sing, Bring Him Home and Little People (by the way Daniel Huttlestone's Gavroche is very striking).