‘Les Misérables’ Review: Tom Hooper’s Film Called ‘Bombastic’ and ‘Heart-Soaring’ [Video]

The movie hasn’t been released yet, but it has already received mixed reviews from critics.

The “Les Miserables” reviews are already written and opinions of critics split about whether the movie is either a mess that peaks after the first hour or a heart-breaking work of staggering genius.

The musical, based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel, is Hooper’s first picture since The King’s Speech (2010).

According to top critics, it comes as close as a £40 million musical, featuring Hugh Jackman, who plays the reformed thief Jean Valjean, can to intimacy, thanks in part to an extraordinarily deeply-felt performance by Anne Hathaway as Fantine, performing a seamstress who falls into prostitution.

“‘Les Miserables’ is a five-star movie musical extravaganza that hums with the spirit of Victor Hugo’s classic novel and the landmark stage show upon which it’s based,” concluded Baz Bamigboye for The Daily Mail.

His colleague of HeyUGuys, Ross Jones-Morris, agreed, writing: “Not only is Les Miserables a great film, but it is now the textbook example of how to adapt a musical for the screen, all the while maintaining an utterly straight face. Glorious.”

“Tom Hooper has created an unprecedented musical experience, a powerful and unforgettable showstopper of a film,” says Edward Douglasof Coming Soon.

According to Catherine Shoard writing for The Guardian,  Hooper, who won an Oscar for “The King’s Speech” two years ago, is a contender for the trophy again this year.

“Hooper’s handle on the grand canvas is impressive, and your temples throb at the logistics of those final scenes; all extras and horses, flags and canons, not to mention that elephant and castle,” she says.

“In fact, other than a bit of a thing for distressed paintwork, it’s all but impossible to detect his thumbprints. You can’t blame him for wanting to marshall a parade, to march out of the low-budget ghetto.”

However, there were those who didn’t like Hooper’s variant of the epic novel.

“Tom Hooper has turned the theatrical extravaganza into something that is far less about the rigors of existence in early 19th century France than it is about actors emoting mightily and singing their guts out,” claims The Hollywood Reporter’s critic Todd McCarthy in a negative review of “Les Miserables,” calling the picture “bombastic.”

“As the enduring success of this property has shown, there are large, emotionally susceptible segments of the population ready to swallow this sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s good,” he added.

“Broadway longevity notwithstanding, ‘Les Misérables’ is not a great musical. But the current screen version could have been so much better if real singers were used instead of box office draws like Jackman and Crowe,” echoes Harvey S. Kartenof Compuserve.

Of course, like plenty the reviews, even positive ones contain some hedging.

Thus, Catherine Shoard noted in her review: “But the experience of actually sitting through ‘Les Mis,’ all 160 minutes of it, can feel less like an awards bash than an epic wake, at which the band is always playing and the women are forever wailing.”

She went on, adding: “By the end, you feel like a piñata on the dancefloor: empty, in bits, the victim of prolonged assault by killer pipes.”

The movie, featuring such stars as Ann Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried, is scheduled to hit cinemas on Dec. 25. The film is predicted to be included into the list of the major players at the 85th annual Academy Awards.

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