'Les Miserables': The Reviews Are in
Bold period-piece filmmaking paired with live musical performances – the actors sang their songs directly to camera versus pre-recording – the adaptation is certainly rich in ambition, but do the high notes soar high enough?
Check out a cross section of reviews from around the web...
Todd Gilchrist, Celebuzz
"[Tom] Hooper’s previous effort was the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, which netted him a Best Director statuette, as well as (apparently) an inflated sense of self-importance. But critically, that win did not supply him with the ability to parse between the heavy and the light, the important and unimportant, in a musical which is filled from start to finish with incredibly impassioned singing. There simply have to be some lesser moments in the film – and more importantly, some in the musical which are removed for pacing, redundancy, etc. – but Hooper treats every number, every reprise as the same sort of showstopper as the true centerpieces."Variety
“As a faithful rendering of a justly beloved musical, Les Miserables will more than satisfy the show's legions of fans. Even so, director Tom Hooper and the producers have taken a number of artistic liberties with this lavish bigscreen interpretation…For all its expected highs, the adaptation has been managed with more gusto than grace; at the end of the day, this impassioned epic too often topples beneath the weight of its own grandiosity.”
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“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."ScreenCrush
"If you are a fan of this show, you’ll likely lose your mind at this film. If you merely like the story, there is an ineffable quality to Hugh Jackman’s performance that just about makes suffering through the singing worth it. Les Miserables is a complete night out, not a movie to merely catch. It demands and is worthy of your attention and even if you kinda can’t stand the form (and I put myself in this category) you deny its high notes at your own peril."
Germain Lussier, SlashFilm
“Throughout, the film is bold, brash yet intimate and emotional thanks in large part to the actors giving brave, heartbreaking performances. No one else in Hollywood could have played Valjean like Jackman does. He’s simultaneously sympathetic, masculine, intimidating and kind. Plus, he can sing incredibly well. Russell Crowe’s more stoic performance and voice make for a frightening, but welcome foil to Valjean.”