Les Misérables (12A)

Film

Musicals

Les Miserables.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Dec 17 2012

Do you hate musicals? Do you think West End shows are naff – only fit for tourists and visiting aunties? Well, you might find yourself converted by Tom Hooper’s rabble-rousing film of London’s longest running musical (staggering fact: 60 million people worldwide have seen ‘Les Mis’). On Hooper’s side is a dream cast of Hollywood’s finest performing live on camera – including Anne Hathaway singing her heart out. I went in cockily arrogant that I’d be immune to the power of the show tune. I ended up using my cardy sleeve as a tissue.

Not everyone will be sold. You might feel battered by ‘Les Mis’. Everything about this film is epic: its marathon two-and-a-half-hour running time (not bad considering Victor Hugo’s novel is 1,400 pages); the actors’ faces filling the screen in close-ups; the emotional thwack of Claude-Michel Schönberg’s earworm-ish numbers. What gives it a beating heart is that the actors are singing live. The norm is to record songs in a studio then lip-synch in front of the camera. Which looks fake. Here, when Hugh Jackman sings ‘How can I face myself again?’ as he contemplates letting another man go to prison (a case of mistaken identity, long story) his voice is hardly a whisper.

Jackman gives a big, strong performance as Jean Valjean – scarily emaciated at the start, when the Frenchman is released from a chain-gang in 1815 after serving 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread.
A bitter and broken man, his life is changed by an act of kindness. Russell Crowe is Javert, the obsessive policeman who stalks him like a bad conscience (the less said about his singing the better).

But the heart of the film belongs to Anne Hathaway, on screen for just 15 minutes as Fantine – the factory girl forced by poverty into prostitution (another long story). When Susan Boyle sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, she belted it out like Elaine Paige. Here Hathaway reinvents the song as a cry from the heart – filmed in a single take, her face full of shame, eyes burning
with rage.

The film sags a bit in the middle – like the musical and the book (yes, yes, it’s a masterpiece). But there’s plenty to keep us entertained. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are very funny as the foul-mouthed, black-hearted Thénardiers (she gets the best line: ‘He ain’t worth my spit’– she’s talking about her husband). Tom Hooper gets a bit carried away with swoopy shots, and the close-ups are unrelenting, but crucially he lets the filth and the squalor in. And there’s a thread running from his last film, ‘The King’s Speech’. Like Bertie, Jean Valjean is striving to become the best man that he can be. And after a few delicate sniffles on my part, his final words did for me – as he sings about his adopted daughter Cosette: ‘She’s the best of my life.’ 

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jan 11, 2013

Duration:

158 mins

Cinemas showing Les Misérables

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Hall Place And Gardens

Bourne Road, Bexley, DA5 1PQ Show map/details

  • Address:

    Hall Place And Gardens Bourne Road
    Bexley
    DA5 1PQ

  • Venue phone:

    01322 526574

  • Venue website:

    www.hallplace.com

  • Transport:

    BR: Crayford

  • Map

    1. Hall Place And Gardens
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  • Wed Sep 3:

    • 19:45

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:10
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|33
1 person listening
Emily

I saw this film last night and have barely slept- it invaded my dreams. I'm still enthralled today - and still singing... The cimema was packed yet noone moved for the entire length- the atmosphere was electric. Powerfully moving, visually stunning, brilliantly and heartrendingly acted...WOW! I loved the stage version but this gripped me and swept me along till I was a tearful, catharthised (if there is such a word) heap at the end. As I struggled to blow my nose I was reassured that a number of others were also visibly moved, so I felt less of an idiot! Its the sort of film that makes you feel a better human being for watching. Go and see it - but leave your cynicism at home.

Emily

I saw this film last night and have barely slept- it invaded my dreams. I'm still enthralled today - and still singing... The cimema was packed yet noone moved for the entire length- the atmosphere was electric. Powerfully moving, visually stunning, brilliantly and heartrendingly acted...WOW! I loved the stage version but this gripped me and swept me along till I was a tearful, catharthised (if there is such a word) heap at the end. As I struggled to blow my nose I was reassured that a number of others were also visibly moved, so I felt less of an idiot! Its the sort of film that makes you feel a better human being for watching. Go and see it - but leave your cynicism at home.

MikeT

Saw this a week ago. Was bored rigid by the time the film started - BE WARNED: TRAILERS GO ON FOR 30 MINUTES. Helena Bottom-Carter's entrance was my cue to exit - about an hour in. Didn't think I could cope with a further 1.5 hours. She used to be a decent actress. In the words of Miss Jean Brodie, "For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like."

Fred A.

Unbearable! Close ups upon close ups. One would expect cinema to add dimension to a musical not to show the larynx and the warts and the nostrils of actors who struggle to sing (and while they do that who just cannot act). This is just how a film should not be. Thank God for the Musical.!!! Even original gems like Gavroche picking bullets among the fallen are completely wasted and lack pace failing to move you. Obviously it is all the result of very poor directing. As for the acting/singing: Jackman manages to look younger as the action unfolds (and we are speaking years) so we need suspension of disbelief as the action progresses, but at least he tries hard, poor fellow. Crowe is monotonous. The Thenardiers are not sinister upstarts but just "funny". Sacha Baron Cohen is his usual self (go figure). Even Bonham Carter is off the mark wondering if she still is on the set of Sweeney Todd. At least Hathaway delivers the punch (soft, dramatic, touching)... full marks to her. Cosettte (child and teen ager) is better forgotten and one hopes she had been left to rot with the Thenardiers. Eddie Redmayne is a pleasant surprise among all this overblown mediocrity, giving a professional delivery in acting and singing. So full marks to him as well. If you have never seen the Musical, you might love this (particularly if you are a follower of the star system). But this lacks all the good things a musical has to offer and hardly takes advantage of what cinema can bring. At least it is good therapy and gives me an excuse to vent my anger.

maargaret

Saw Les Mis today and having seen it twice on the stage I thought this surpassed anything before. it was a bit too long but the setting and singing using actors own voices was great. it will get lots of awards.!!

maargaret

Saw Les Mis today and having seen it twice on the stage I thought this surpassed anything before. it was a bit too long but the setting and singing using actors own voices was great. it will get lots of awards.!!

No Slush, Thanks

What an over-rated film! The acting is good, especially Jackman and Crowe, but the story is melodramatic tripe, the music is unmemorable and the film direction is overblown and crude. How anyone can compare this to the really great musicals like West Side Story is beyond me. I felt like I was being exhorted to have the emotions that the film required, because it could not evoke them naturally. However, perhaps I was unlucky in that I had been to see "Quartet" a few days before, so I was fully aware of what a good film consists of - wit, humanity, depth of character and really great music. See for yourself and compare them!

Bencarra

2 1/2 hours went in a flash with never a thought for a numb bum on a cinema seat in a provincial theatre. A bit unbelievable in the plot occasionally but then "operas" have spent centuries getting away with that. Don't get carried away by the opportunity to be a pretentious critic - a brilliant and hugely enjoyable 2 1/2 hours of entertainment.

Bencarra

2 1/2 hours went in a flash with never a thought for a numb bum on a cinema seat in a provincial theatre. A bit unbelievable in the plot occasionally but then "operas" have spent centuries getting away with that. Don't get carried away by the opportunity to be a pretentious critic - a brilliant and hugely enjoyable 2 1/2 hours of entertainment.

DutchMusicalFan

I went back to see Les Miserables for the third time today (in Holland we have a really wonderful system which might in the meantime have already reached the UK as well or it was there all along: it started originally in France, I think. Movie fans here can choose between two types of movies passes, one is for the more mainstream Pathé cinemas and the other one is valid for the art movies theatres; each cost about 20 euros per month for unlimited entry!) and I enjoyed it as much as the first two times. I found the scenes where Fantine was subjected to all kinds of humiliation by her fellow French men and women a little bit too gruesome so I just closed my eyes for a couple of minutes during those sad scenes and focused only on the music which worked well for me. That said, I must convey my apologies to the makers of Les Miserables. I watched the credits more closely this third time around and indeed Mr. Trevor Nunn and Mr. John Caird were already both mentioned after all (I missed their names the first two times; please see my other earlier reactions to this movie below; thanks very much). If you not been to this movie, do please go soon; it's really a very well-made movie and really worth 158 minutes of your time. Happy weekend!

Jimmy ChooChoo

I'm not a big fan of musicals and have not see the stage show though I thought that Les Mis was one that I might enjoy. Not based upon this film I'm afraid. While the basic storyline was fine for me I'm afraid that Javert had not done enough to warrant killing himself and, other than blatant sentimentality, I did not see the point of the little cockney sounding boy who presumably had wandered off the set of Oliver!! I thought that there were precious few songs worth the name and, in the main, the dialogue was just sung mediocre prose. I did not think that Russell Crowe was that bad as a singer and, IMHO, did a much better job than the actor playing the grown up Cosette (sp?). By far the most entertaining scene for me was the tavern scene with SBC and HBC, both of whom were a hoot. I've given it 3 because my wife absolutely loved it and it's saved me a trip to the theatre - otherwise a 2.

sticky

Wow! Having never seen/read any version of 'Les Mis', I wasn't getting too excited about seeing it, but it couldn't have been done better. Never a big fan of musicals and knowing that it was nearly all singing, I was so surprised that it was just so great. Another worry beforehand was that there would be a lack of emotion at the expense of trying to tell the story through song. I was wrong again! It was really emotionally-involving throughout and often very moving because of the director's insistence to have live singing. As for the actors, Anne Hathaway was even more amazing than what I'd imagined and the unknown (to me) Samantha Barks was a fantastic discovery and looks set for future stardom. Finally, again to my surprise, having never really rated him as an actor, Hugh Jackman proved to be the heart and soul of the film and he delivers a really heartfelt and brilliant performance. Go see it, even if you're not a fan of musicals like me. You'll surely be converted.

sticky

Wow! Having never seen/read any version of 'Les Mis', I wasn't getting too excited about seeing it, but it couldn't have been done better. Never a big fan of musicals and knowing that it was nearly all singing, I was so surprised that it was just so great. Another worry beforehand was that there would be a lack of emotion at the expense of trying to tell the story through song. I was wrong again! It was really emotionally-involving throughout and often very moving because of the director's insistence to have live singing. As for the actors, Anne Hathaway was even more amazing than what I'd imagined and the unknown (to me) Samantha Barks was a fantastic discovery and looks set for future stardom. Finally, again to my surprise, having never really rated him as an actor, Hugh Jackman proved to be the heart and soul of the film and he delivers a really heartfelt and brilliant performance. Go see it, even if you're not a fan of musicals like me. You'll surely be converted.

Lesley

Amazing film, expanded the stage musical brilliantly. The only disappointment was the ridiculous voice of Amanda Seyfried, surely they could have found someone better than that for Cosette?! Despite 5 stars.

Lesley

Amazing film, expanded the stage musical brilliantly. The only disappointment was the ridiculous voice of Amanda Seyfried, surely they could have found someone better than that for Cosette?! Despite 5 stars.

Paul

I have avoided LM so finally got to see it at the cinema tonight and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the film. The breadth of the story kept my interest as it quickly moved from scene to scene. It reminded me of the one take Russian Ark in which the story starts and you can't get off until the end. Took a while to get used to the singing but I got used to it. Worth seeing on the big screen, it will look dull on a TV

DutchMusicalFan

(I am resending as I mixed up the names of the original directors of Les Misérables the musical: they were Mr. Trevor Nunn and Mr. John Caird who were involved with the original Barbican Arts Centre production in London and not Mr. Harold Prince who has indeed directed some brilliant musicals but not Les Misérables however) I went back today for a 2nd round of Les Misérables and in fact enjoyed it much more than the first time especially the newly added song Suddenly. Being a lifelong musical fan, I have great respect for the original directors of Les Misérables of many years ago Mr. Trevor Nunn and Mr. John Caird. I was sad to see their names not being mentioned at all at the end of this movie which to me personally is somewhat disrespectful or simply an oversight from the makers of this new movie, I think. Can their names still be inserted somewhere at the very end of this movie? Without their original contribution the stage musical Les Misérables we have enjoyed for the last 26 years might not have existed at all in the first place, not in its brilliant present form in any case. Basically this new movie is more or less a direct screen transformation of the original musical in the Barbican Arts Centre, later on the West End & Broadway & of course in many cities all over the world. Mr. Trevor Nunn and Mr. John Caird, I salute you both and I thank you both for this wonderful original musical which you originally helped brought to the stage via the Barbican Arts Centre in London! Cheers, my best regards & greetings from the Netherlands.

DutchMusicalFan

(continued from yesterday: please see below, thanks!) I went back today for a 2nd round of Les Misérables and in fact enjoyed it much more than the first time especially the newly added song Suddenly. Being a lifelong musical fan, I have great respect for the original director of Les Misérables of many years ago Mr. Harold Prince. I was sad to see his name not being mentioned at all at the end of this movie which to me personally is somewhat disrespectful or simply an oversight from the makers of this new movie, I think. Can Mr. Harold Prince's still be inserted somewhere at the very end of this movie? Without his contribution the stage musical Les Misérables we have enjoyed for the last 26 years might not have existed at all in the first place, not in its brilliant present form in any case. Basically this new movie is more or less a direct screen transformation of the original musical on the West End & Broadway & in many cities all over the world. Mr. Harold Prince, I salute you and I thank you! Cheers, my best regards & greetings from the Netherlands.

villardi

I tried hard to like this film a lot and ended up failing to do so. It sags badly in the middle and is overblown in my opinion. Some parts worked and others failed miserably. Didn't rate Jackman as Valjean, but enjoyed Crowe and Eddie Redmayne (surprisingly) Thought Hathaway was a bad joke and the transition from ftheatre to film didn't work in the way Mamma Mia did because it took itself too seriously. Worth seeing though, but roll on Lincoln.

baz

just caught the film and was at a slight disadvantage having nearly worn my 10th anniversary albert hall dvd out. having said that the film was outstanding and superbly presented.would highly recommend it.it also filled a lot of gaps in the story.shame about russel crowes weak voice,compensated by a solid acting performance

baz

just caught the film and was at a slight disadvantage having nearly worn my 10th anniversary albert hall dvd out. having said that the film was outstanding and superbly presented.would highly recommend it.it also filled a lot of gaps in the story.shame about russel crowes weak voice,compensated by a solid acting performance

DutchMusicalFan

Some Dutch critics apparently showed their dislike for this new Tom Hooper movie (or probably their own personal dislike of musicals in general, who knows!) when it finally got its Dutch premiere in Amsterdam last Thursday by giving it just two stars out of five but most of them are fortunately just as enthousiatic over this movie as this Time Out writer. I am a big musical fan all my life so of course I was pretty overwhelmed by every minute of this well-made and well-cast and mostly well-sung movie especially by this movie's Jean Valjean, Fantine, Marius en Eponine. Russell Crowe gave quite a powerful performance as Javert, I think, to make up for his somewhat weak voice. I gladly give this movie 4 stars out of five and will probably go back soon for another round of Les Misérables!!!. Recommended for everyone who loves a good movie (even for the non-musical fans) as far as I am concerned.

Gaut

slightly confused that chance was shocked by a film titled 'the miserables' being depressing. this is a Phenomenal film, wonderfully portrayed, superb acting and singing. As a huge fan of the stage show I couldn't fault it.

Gaut

slightly confused that chance was shocked by a film titled 'the miserables' being depressing. this is a Phenomenal film, wonderfully portrayed, superb acting and singing. As a huge fan of the stage show I couldn't fault it.

Steve

Awesome! Great fan of the show. For me, the film is equally as good. No greater praise can I give it.

Steve

Awesome! Great fan of the show. For me, the film is equally as good. No greater praise can I give it.

brilliant

I saw the stage show years ago, and though I loved the production design and some of the effects, the music for some reason left me cold. But this film version was brilliant - very powerful, and I thought the music was great, the acting great, the singing great, and though it is pretty long, it kept me interested. Can't believe people are slagging off Eddie Redmayne for his hairdo - he was brilliant!

brilliant

I saw the stage show years ago, and though I loved the production design and some of the effects, the music for some reason left me cold. But this film version was brilliant - very powerful, and I thought the music was great, the acting great, the singing great, and though it is pretty long, it kept me interested. Can't believe people are slagging off Eddie Redmayne for his hairdo - he was brilliant!

Ian

There comes a time when you realise that what you say about a film won't matter. The big screen at my local multiplex was fuller than I can remember it for a long while and for 3 PM showing on a Saturday afternoon! Its showing on three screens there and it will no doubt do very well at the box office. Oh the film? Its good in places and very good in others but does lag at times and there really aren't enough great songs to carry it for 2 1/2 hours. Hathaway will break your heear and Barks is excellent as the girl who loves the man that got away. Jackman is very good and Crowe better than I expected. A good three stars not good enough for four to me but what do I know? I won't be amongst the groups of fans who will see it again and again. Expect this to run and run at cinemas everywhere.

james

Huge fan of the musical, and the 10th & 25th anniversary concerts, so would be very critical, but immerse myself in the film, and it was goose-bumpingly amazing! Oscar-winning performance all round, except for one poor casting - Russell Crowe. Too wooden & stilted to play Javert, nowhere near enough bile, verve & borderline insanity, more a resigned indiffrence. Apart from that, would happily see it over & over.

james

Huge fan of the musical, and the 10th & 25th anniversary concerts, so would be very critical, but immerse myself in the film, and it was goose-bumpingly amazing! Oscar-winning performance all round, except for one poor casting - Russell Crowe. Too wooden & stilted to play Javert, nowhere near enough bile, verve & borderline insanity, more a resigned indiffrence. Apart from that, would happily see it over & over.

john o sullivan

Hooper seems to be trying to film the book and musical simultaneous and falls short on both What works in the theatre is its ability to immerse you into its narrative unquestioningly Here with more time to deliberate you're are left with the feeling the story is too condensed and the score a handful of good songs surrounded by a sea of mediocre music so half way through i started thinking of booking to see it on stage again and dusting down the Depardieu dvd Their are highlights Samantha Barlks On my own which knocks Hathaways snotty karaoke Dream into touch And Crowe might not be the best singer here but hes the best actor on show some irritants Gavroche seems have strayed on from Oliver and Redmaynes modeling Burberrys scruffy revolution chic grates but will delight fans but gain few new ones

Annie

Have seen the theatre show. Hooper had to translate it to film medium. use of strong actors able to convey conflicted emotions and live, raw singing worked well. If Hooper had simply put the theatrical production on film, would've seemed odd and OTT. Go see it with an open mind. By the way, I thought Russell Crowe seemed bit stilted at first. By end, he was my fave. Deeply conflicted, emotionally crippled. He played Javert with sympathy, making you interested in his back story. he was raised in the prison, among thieves. His singing was stronger in the last number. Almost like he finally is able to release genuine emotion as he takes his life. His performance was restrained and powerful , a tough call in a movie/story so operatic in content and form.