a scene, which is particularly true of Hathaway as Fantine and surprisingly, Samantha Barks as Eponine. Both have small roles but as Hooper captures them from up close, they breathe their heartbreak and pain and belt it out.
Hathaway, who has already started collecting awards for a film that has garnered eight Oscar nominations, does a virtuoso performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” -- crying for her shaved hair, plucked-out teeth and lost dignity, and condemning the world, including us, for it. Hooper’s decision to record the songs live on camera makes perfect sense here.
The film comes into its own in these brief flashes till what is easily the highlight: the barricade of the Pairs 1832 uprising, when a group of youth stood up to the new monarchy. Hooper builds up the brief revolt as well as the quick tragedy of it quite nicely.
So much so that by the time he works up to the grand finale, it seems like a different film than from where it began. Fans of Hugo’s book would argue the same about how far the film strays from it.