The Les Miserables reviews are coming in, and things are not looking good. The film we all thought was the Best Picture frontrunner now seems like it will be fighting to even be nominated. And while we assumed Anne Hathaway had the Best Supporting Actress Oscar locked up with her version of “I Dreamed A Dream,” the critics are not really giving her the kind of allcolades that are usually bestowed on future Oscar nominees.
Take a peek at what the critics said below.
“A gallery of stellar performers wages a Sisyphean battle against musical diarrhea and a laboriously repetitive visual approach in the big-screen version of the stage sensation Les Miserables. Victor Hugo’s monumental 1862 novel about a decades-long manhunt, social inequality, family disruption, injustice and redemption started its musical life onstage in 1980 and has been around ever since, a history of success that bodes well for this lavish, star-laden film. But director 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. 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.” – THR
“This is why you can’t pay too much attention to the buzz and get all wrapped up in Twitter noise that all of sudden made everyone go, ’Oscar frontrunner!’ Early screenings of Les Miserables did provoke audiences to burst into applause after certain song performances and yes, many were in tears by the end of the film. And that’s because Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” has two incredible sequences (both of which audiences thundered over in our early screening), but the rest of the movie? Well, maybe not so much.” – Indiewire
“The opportunistic Les Misérables proceeds from the assumption that virtuosity is paramount and authenticity is self-evident, which is why it so confidently emphasizes the novelty of live singing. It seems obvious within minutes that the effect was difficult to achieve, and it’s the film’s hope that our awareness of that difficulty will be enough to impress; like a metal guitarist tearing into a conspicuously elaborate solo, the point isn’t so much that it sounds pleasing, but that the act of pulling it off looks impressive. Flaws—and there are a great many that would have never made the cut were this a perfectible studio recording—are conveniently swept under the rug of candid expression, a necessary consequence of the film’s more virtuous approach to be regarded less as mistakes than as proof of its sincerity. What’s especially galling about all of this isn’t that it smacks of underhanded exploitation (though playing off our skepticism of cinematic artifice to exaggerate its pursuit of something real is indeed a cheap strategy), or even that it presumes superiority over those comparatively stale and phoned-in musicals that deign instead to record songs the easy way. No, the worst quality of Les Misérables’s live singing is simply that is puts too much pressure on a handful of performers who frankly cannot sing.” – Slant
“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: The squalor and upheaval of early 19th-century France are conveyed with a vividness that would have made Victor Hugo proud, heightened by the raw, hungry intensity of the actors’ live oncamera vocals. Yet 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.” – Variety