Review: Les Miserables
That is the other problem with Hooper. His direction style is one of reiteration and of mounting spectacles (a contrast from his previous The King’s Speech), and the most glaring example is when Javert and Valjean are introduced to us. Valjean is hauling a ship and later a pole, which will immediately draw to mind a certain someone dragging a cross. It’s meant to impress but leaves no impression.
Hooper is better when he lets his actors be at the heart of 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