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« Twins: Isabella & Isotta Ingrid | Main | The Bling Ring? »
Wednesday
May302012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Les Miserables"

Q: You know what I always wanted for Christmas?
A: A miserabilist musical epic about whores, convicts, slum lords, revolutionaries and starving street urchins in 19th century France.

Thanks, Santa!

And thanks, Baby Jesus! Even though your dad was not as forgiving as Fantine (Anne Hathaway) dreamed. Les Misérables trailer and discussion after the jump

YES 

  • It should be clear to anyone reading The Film Experience that Nathaniel (c'est moi) lives for musicals so there is no way he'd ever miss this.
  • Anne Hathaway. Dreaming that iconic dream gorgeously over the handsome imagery. This is what musicals require that Hollywood always forgets: great actors with impressive vocal instruments. Not great voices that can't act or great actors that can't sing.
  • "I dreamed that God would be forgiving ♫" over an image of Jean Valjean in church? I can already hear myself weeping in the movie theater.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by.
When hope was high and life worth living.
I dreamed that love would never die.
I dreamed that God would be forgiving... 

  • ........Chills. I tell you. Chills. 
  • Anne Hathaway's overdue Oscar! (shut up. She was Gah!mazing in Rachel Getting Married)
  • Hugh Jackman. Singing In a Movie! FINALLY!
  • SINGING WHORES! That never ever gets old (see also: Moulin Rouge!, Candide, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Miss Saigon, Cabaret, Gypsy, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Oliver!, etcetera) 

 Singing Whores! YES

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Not the off-center compositions all over again. Stop it, Tom Hooper. Just stop it. This definitely got old by the 118th minute of The King's Speech two years ago.

 

MAYBE SO 

  • With long awaited epics where anticipation is built as high as revolutionary barricades on the dreams and tears of feverish fandom, the risk of disappointment always looms as dangerously as approaching well armed government troops. Can this movie ever deliver like the stage show did for decades for millions and millions of fans? And if does can it ever win enough Oscars?

The Trailer...

Are you a Yes, No, or a Maybe So?
Sing your song and dream your dream in the comments. 

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  • Response
    I love this musical and wish only the best for this man, so I plan to be at a midnight premier to watch it happen because Hugh Jackman makes me believe in miracles.

Reader Comments (78)

Come on nathaniel, love her all you want, but anne hathaway is NOT overdue for an Oscar.....

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

YES YES YES YES YES

I can't form coherent thoughts beyond that.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

None of the off-center compositions in this trailer are as painfully awkward as the ones in The King's Speech. In fact, I'm impressed by Hooper's visual sense here; I didn't know he had it in him to open the story out so grandiosely. I'm most nervous about "I Dreamed A Dream" itself, which is gorgeous when laid over a montage, but will likely sit awkwardly in a movie (especially since the actual scene itself looks like it'll have Anne Hathaway sitting off-centered in a pipe sewer).

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColin

Lets put it this way: Julianne moore. Overdue: yes. Anne hathaway: no.

But you may already start celebrating Nate. There's no way she wont win this. She lost weight. She cut her hair. She sells her teeth. She cries. She is a suffering mom. She is a prostitute. She dies!!! This is pretty much the definition of "Oscar bait".

I see no point in nominating anyone else really.......

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

at risk of sounding like a tired old show queen, i'm pretty sure life killed THE dream i dreamed, not A dream i dreamed

but apart from that, yes

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

I'm not feeling Anne's rendition of the song....I mean I already knew she didn't have the strongest voice (since when was that a factor in Hollywood musicals?) and she's acting it first and foremost, but idk... underwhelmed by that. Which is an amazing number.

I'm still a yes though. I feel like this will be epic. Epically sad, at that, which I love.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

amanda -- i was being overemphatic. Of course she is not "over" due... but she may well be "due". does that sit better for ya?

Philip -- whaaaaa? she's got a stronger voice than practically anyone who has been cast in a musical lately. so points to Tom Hooper for that.

May 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I think the trailer is flawless. It'd be weird if every single frame is completely centered.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRic H

par3182 -- risk away. tired old show queens are made of "Yes No Maybe So"

Colin -- interesting 'most nervous' bit. Hmmmm.

May 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Does anyone else think Anne's voice sounds kinda weak here? I mean, obviously she can sing...but when compared to some of the great voices of the past that have tackled this song + role onstage, her voice comes off as very thin. While certainly emotional, I was hoping for a richer version of this song. I hope the rest of the performances from both Anne and the rest of the cast make up for the potentially weaker vocals (minus Hugh obviously)!

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

I'm a yes, i guess.

I'm a big fan of musical theater but i've never had a chance to see the show. I've heard of Les Miserables but I don't have the slightest clue about the story. *dodges tomatoes* I guess this December will be an experience for me.

But this does looks like the most depressing musical EVER. lol.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

HUGE YES

I was expecting the second of the Brokeback quartet (Ledger, Gyllenhaal, Williams, Hathaway) to grab the Oscar would be Williams, but man, what a year for Anne. This is most likely the Oscar bait between her iconic turns. One sour note can throw off a whole musical though, so here's hoping Hooper has his harmonies honed. Maybe an Oscar nod for Jackman too?

I really, really, really hope this one doesn't crash and burn. It's an incredible show (saw it live in London - amazing) and it deserves a film version worth remembering.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I like your "yes" section, Hathaway and Jackman!

But i just love your "No"! Please Tom Hooper, dont do that!

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAni

YES...

BTW I love those off-center compositions. I disliked the KING'S SPEECH but I was sold on HOOPER's directing from the beginning.

Hathaway & Jackman are sure nominees, right?

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterseasondays

I've never seen the play, and the only song from it that I'm familiar with is "I Dreamed a Dream," but Hathaway + Jackman + MUSICAL = HELL YES!

Anne may not be singing the song as powerfully as it's been sung before, but I think that's more a matter of artistic interpretation and less of a choice based on vocal ability - the girl can sing her hammy little ass off.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Best part: when she sings "So different from this hell I'm living." The emotion in that line just made me shiver. She's giving such a new take on the meaning of the song. So much less theatrical, but much more appropriate. Hand Anne the Oscar already.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

A YES for me! I believe an emotional song like this need not be "powerful" when the musical is transferred to film. Theater is "louder" and "showier". A film musical can retain the grandiosity of Broadway if it's a show-stopping number! Smaller (screen) is subtler.
I'm certainly hoping there'll be Oscar nods for Jackman, Hathaway, the film itself, among others.
Oh! Don't forget the nomination for the brand-new song written for the movie. Well, this paid off for Evita, right?

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I'm surprised by the debate over Anne Hathaway's rendition in the trailer. I'm not music or musical expert, but it seems like everyone is accustomed to or expecting an all-out, powerful "belting" version a la Lea Salonge or Susan Boyle, whereas the film is trying to go in a different direction by upping the emotion by a notch and lowering the volume to emphasize Fantine's weariness, frailty, and broken spirit in the movie. II LOVED it. The girl can sing, dammit, and the sorrow in her voice gave me chills. As someone who was never an enthusiastic fan of musicals or Les Mis, I am weirdly psyched for this.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

The only minor complaint is that all the actors looked so period-appropriate and then that one shot of Eponine (Samantha Barks) looked oddly anachronistic. I don't know whether it was the glamour salon haircut (bangs, really?) or maybe that her features are too "modern," whatever that means, but she definitely didn't look the part of a street urchin. I'm sure she'll do an amazing job, though.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

Hathaway has the Oscar in the bag, and I would love to see the look on her face when she realizes she won in the supporting category. We all know what she really wants is a Best Actress win ;)

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJayJ

I am not a fan of Les Mis at all, but this looks kind of amazing.For some reason I keep thinkin of Oliver. If anyone's complaining about crap singing from Hathaway, maybe they need to see the film version of Man of La Mancha with Sofia Loren. That'll shut you up.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohnnyBS

THIS is what a movie-musical, especially one based on such a renowned Broadway show, should be: it should have a life of its own separate from its source material. Sure, IDaD Is a gorgeous, powerful, belty number on stage, but in the scene, Fantine is actually dying and film captures that far more literally. Thus, Hathaway's struggle through the number is completely appropriate and, dare I say, might even elevate the material for this medium. We ALL know Hathaway can sing that number just as good as any of the Broadway greats, but the decision for her to do it as a dying woman is inspired.

To be honest, I'm thrilled that this wont be a literal scene-for-scene transference of the stage musical (the fact that she is singing the number with a shaved head already shows that Hooper is taking liberties with the narrative timeline)

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I know Anne has a strong voice, but it's not like she would've had the part on Broadway or anything. That's all I meant. And I guess I'm just used to the Lea Salonga version of it where it's a huge show stopping number, but I can see why others are getting into this...it's different. I'm sure I'll be into it in the film. She's acting it well I can tell, and I know she's a fantabulous actress, so I'm still looking forward to it.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I'm a Yes. To. Ta. Lly.
I like Hathaway's version (at least the bit we heard). Not crazy about it, but I liked it. It was a different approach.
Bring it Hooper!

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I reallllyyyyy need to stop watching this trailer. I'm going to ruin it for myself, seriously. I am a resounding YES on all counts. The moment the trailer started with Hathaway's stunning vocals, I knew I would just melt. Doesn't everyone just look so perfect in their respective parts? I'm so happy that one of the finest musicals ever written is getting a worthy (at least, so far) adaptation. Here's hoping the end product is as thrilling as this trailer. I'm really needing an adaptation as good as "West Side Story"- the best musical to film adaptation ever, IMO.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin P.

I definitly agree that Hathaway is not overdue. Yes she's a good actress and will one day be deserving of winning but not after one nomination and only a handful of good roles.

I like her voice. I think more than the stage versions she is really acting with her singing (if that make sense). Shes not just singing it classical but bringing the pain of it.

Also of track, it bugs me that Seyfried is billed when the likes of Redmayne, Baron carter and HBC arent. I think it would have been better with just Jackman, Crowe and Hathaway.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

Stoked for this movie beyond belief. Like you, I noticed the "I dreamed that God would be forgiving" playing over Jean Valjean in the church. Brilliant. Ugh, it's taking all of my willpower to avoid hitting random letters on my keyboard from excitement.

On that note, the next teaser needs to be similar to this one, only with different footage (obviously) and Samantha Barks singing "On My Own." Oh, and Hathaway's vocals perfectly fit in with the character Fantine and the situations through which she's going at that time in the story.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulian Stark

Oh, I smell Oscar for Hathaway . . . Never thought I would say this, but darn, the girl is looking impressive in this little trailer.

However, I also agree with others in that Hathaway is not overdue.

All in all, I'm a YES, YES!!

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJones

Anne's going to win the Oscar. Best Actress seems to be so weak this year that I can even see her switching categories. But I don't think she should risk it like Viola.

I think Hugh Jackman seems to be close to a win as well.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdinasztie

Hathaway is NOT due, Nathaniel. Glenn Close is due and overdue

Though I dislike Hooper as a director, this film looks very good. I really like the idea of actors singing live

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

It looks beautiful! And by "it" I mean Eddie Redmayne...

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

I haven't read the book, I haven't seen the show... Am I supposed to be aware that Hathaway's character dies? Is it early in the show? Because, you know, I think some of you spoiled it for me.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

@cal roth
Considering it's a 150 year old story, it is hardly a spoiler to comment on Fantine's demise!

Mine is a resounding YES, so much so that I can't stop replaying that little bastard of a teaser. Anne's rendition gives me chills everytime and to think I was already tired of listening to that song in the cast recording (I usually pass it by). Now it seems like a new song altogether, right?

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

I'm a big yes, but I would have been a bigger yes had my future husband Aaron Tveit shown up in the trailer.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

@Seisgrados

Yes, maybe, but the fact the a book is a 150 yo doesn't mean the everybody has read it. But I'm not an anti- spoiler freak.

That said, I am a yes. The live singing is enough to convince me. They should outlaw pre-recorded singing. That would stop movies like Sweeney Todd from being made

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

A definite Yes. My favorite musical--seen it in 4 major cities, including London. But, I am more eager to see Jackman and Crowe as Valjean and Javert--the two central characters in the story. And very interested to see the adorable Eddie Redmayne as Marius. I loved him in Pillars of the Earth and The Yellow Handkerchief.

They're using Hathaway to sell this pic, based on her general appeal to a younger audience, her escapades at the Oscars, her number at the Kennedy Center Honors for Streep, her red carpet glamor, and her decent vocal talent. She was lovely in Ella Enchanted, amazing in Rachel Getting Married, but she really hasn't stretched her range, like, say Amy Adams. I'm not on Hathaway Oscar bus yet.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam

For all those complaining about Anne Hathaway's "weak" singing voice ... Perhaps because so many are used to big pre-recorded songs being looped over actors miming their words in movie musicals, rather than being able to appreciate the true emotion, depth and range within a song while actually seeing it being acted, such as you experience when watching a live musical.

And to that end, I hugely congratulate Tom Hooper who made the decision to use live performances and not pre-recorded songs. The effect is so much more powerful and real. I think too many are too used to the big movie gloss-over.

See USAToday: http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/story/2012-05-28/les-miserables-singing/55253056/1

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexfh

Not that impressed. Although I might be trying not to set myself up for disappointment..... Cannot even remember the last movie musical I saw that truly delivered and wasn't all hype before Oscar and then sadly crashed and burned....

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

JohnnyBS: Or (ugh) Ralph Macchio in Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue.
Manuel: Not Glenn Close level overdue, but plausibly deserving. Especially if she nails her performance in The Dark Knight Rises as well. The Oscar Bait means she's a real threat to begin with and the performance taste sounds like it'll be very good. And, if critics say she's nailed her role The Dark Knight Rises as well, she's won for this at that moment. The Academy probably wouldn't be able to resist the idea of a classy film like this working as a symbolic win for two performances.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I agree, Anne Hathaway's voice is appropriate. Don't forget there is barely any spoken dialogue, so they need to make the most out of the songs. Better to have the emotions from great acting.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Not only is hathaway not overdue for the Oscar itself, she is not even due for a second nomination. She did not deserve to Be nominated for anything since RGM.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Dinasztie: I don't think Hathaway will be nominated for Best Actress. Her character disappears halfway through the play! As Nathaniel rightly states in his Best Supporting Actress predictions Hathaway, Seyfried and Barks will have to go Supporting. I strongly doubt voters will place Hathaway in the Lead category just because it's Hathaway. Remember voters choose to place performers where they want. If she's promoted as Lead she'll split her votes. And even if most members vote Supporting she'll be again splitting votes with Seyfried and Barks! I believe Jackman/Valjean is the only lead performer.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I love Amanda the , Hathaway hater. Lady, you crack me up !

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterptp

Not a hater. Never met her, never will, have better and more useful things to do with my time. I am entitled to an opinion and should not have to apologize for it.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Marcos: I see. I don't know the play so didn't know about the length of the part. :))) Thanks for telling me, really wasn't sure about it. Then she'll DEFINITELY win the Oscar. :))))

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdinasztie

I'll probably see it, but it looks really depressing. Couldn't they have found a way to add some color to this film?

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Amanda: Okay, well, what about before? Voice work in The Cat Returns, a role in a Nicholas Nickleby adaptation that wound up getting the NBR for Best Cast, some VERY good V/O in the, frankly, ugly looking Hoodwinked!, a bitingly energetic turn in Brokeback Mountain that'll probably hold up much better than the actual supporting actress nomination from that film and a good star turn in the Get Smart adaptation, making it quite a bit better than it deserved to be. Based on her entire career and not "after your first nomination the only thing to consider is what has been done since", I'd say "Yeah! Second Nom is deserved!"

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

@cal roth. Most people haven't read the book, but saying that Fantine dies in Les Mis is a spoiler is kind of like saying that Mufasa dies in the Lion King (sorry, this is the only analogy that comes to mind right now). It's this tragic event that serves as more of a catalyst for future events than a giant twist into itself. From time we meet Fantine, she's already kind of dying, and she's not the central character anyway.

I have a question about the visuals - not the biggest fan of Hooper, but I always thought his visuals were fine. Isn't an off-center composition a norm for most directors anyway? Or is it that Hooper's are considered awkwardly rendered? I'm curious.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstella

showcasing anne hathaway in the most deglamourized and heartbreaking way! seems like the perfect FYC ad...

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkent

Considering I've neither seen "Les Miserables" nor read the novel, I have no attachments to the material one way or the other. However, I think they studio was very wise in using this particular clip as the trailer. Anne Hathaway looks absolutely phenomenal and sounds delicious. I think audiences have gotten so use to singers' belting their way through everything that we've construe anything less as undersinging or the performer's having a weak voice. Sometimes that subtly is needed -- and very refreshing.

And speaking of Hathaway, "The Devils Wears Prada" (novel, not film) is getting a sequel.

May 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.
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