"Les Miserables" has joined the list of 2012 movies which have been highly-praised by critics and dubbed a potential awards contender. The musical movie directed by Tom Hopper was screened for the first time to a New York audience on Friday afternoon, November 23 and it received critical receptions followed by long standing ovations. Critics quickly deemed the film the best musical pic after "Chicago", which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2002.
To the audience, Hooper admitted that he'd just finished the movie during his first Thanksgiving meal on November 22. He said, "I'm grateful that I finished it [the film]... I'm grateful to the thousands of people who have been on this journey, particularly the wonderful cast... and I'm grateful to Victor Hugo[who wrote the novel upon which the Broadway play upon which the film is derived], who unfortunately can't be with us."
Journalists who attended the special screening weren't allowed to publish their reviews just yet, but they already weighed in on Twitter about their opinions on the film. As highlighted by Collider, Kristopher Tapley of HitFix wrote, "Hathaway wins. GOD. I wept. Film's a triumph. They're on their feet here. NYC crowd ate...it...up. #lesmiserables."
Steven Zeitchik of L.A. Times added, "Hathaway is a stand-out, albeit in very few scenes; Jackman and Crowe singing is solid but doesn't reach for as much. #LesMiserables," while Newsweek's Julie Stone gushed, "#LesMiserables screening audience burst into applause after songs and gave a long standing ovation during the credits."
"Still reeling from the amazingness that was today. #lesmiserables#firstEVERscreening," added reviewer Samantha Massell. "In case I wasn't clear, the #lesmiserables movie is absolutely UNREAL. Ten million points to #TomHooper for doing this musical movie RIGHT."
Black Film's Wilson Morales tweeted, "Standing O for #LesMiserables! Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks are on stage now for Q & A. For those who are theater purists, you will LOVE #LesMiserables! Hooper did it right. Having Barks play role again but on film was great!"
Still, some critics thought that Russell Crowe's musical performance was just not as strong as his co-stars. Awards Circuit's Clayton Davis was among those who criticized the thesp, "Poor Russell Crowe. With everyone singing spectacular, he stands out like a sore thumb. #LesMiserables."
Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, "Les Miserables" tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption - a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.
It focuses on ex-prisoner Valjean who is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjen agrees to take care for factory worker Fantine's young daughter Cosette, their lives change forever. The movie will be released in the U.S. on December 25.