LES MISERABLES First Screening Earns Bouts of Applause and a Standing Ovation

     November 23, 2012


Having just finished his cut of the film at 2 a.m., Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (A King’s Speech) presented the first screening of Les Miserables to a New York audience this afternoon. Not since 2002’s Chicago has a musical feature been a serious Oscar contender for Best Picture, but early reactions indicate that the trend could change this year. Each musical number was followed by raucous applause with the principal cast taking the stage to a standing ovation at the end of the film. It looks like Christmas has come early for the cast and crew of Les Miserables. 

The film stars Hugh JackmanAnne HathawayRussell CroweAmanda SeyfriedEddie RedmayneSamantha BarksHelena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.  Les Miserables opens on December 25th. Hit the jump to read some audience reactions.

anne-hathaway-les-miserables-photoThe first audience reactions to Les Miserables were reported by THR from the first screening at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Hooper, who had just finished his first Thanksgiving meal, shared what he was thankful for this year:

“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.”

Though the journalists in attendance couldn’t offer their reviews yet, they were allowed to make general comments. The following is from THR reporter, Scott Feinberg:

Whether or not the fact that Hooper used the actors’ live on-set singing (as opposed to re-recording it in post-production) — which Universal touted in a recent featurette — actually enhances a film more than it compromises the quality of the music, audiences seem to have been sold on the former. Any “first” also makes for a great talking-point on the awards season campaign trail. (Incidentally, all of the musical numbers were also shot in close-up and uninterrupted takes.)

Feinberg also highlights Hooper’s strong chances for Best Director, names Hathaway as a frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress, says that Jackman’s Valjean role was custom-made for him though it may not be enough to earn him even a nomination this year in a crowded category, commends Crowe’s vocal abilities as Javert and says that Barks, Seyfried and Carter could also contend for Best Supporting Actress nominations. There is also the original song, “Suddenly,” that was written specifically for the film and will likely be a contender.

Let’s take a look at some of the reactions from viewers via Twitter:

Kristopher Tapley ‏@kristapley Hathaway wins. GOD. I wept. Film’s a triumph. They’re on their feet here. NYC crowd ate…it…up. #lesmiserables

Wilson Morales ‏@blackfilm 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!

DaveKarger ‏@davekarger First #LesMiserables screening went over extremely well. I’d call it a sure thing Picture nominee for Oscar and the probable Globe winner.
Hugh Jackman has a great shot to bump out Denzel or Joaquin in the Best Actor race. His singing is quite impressive. #LesMiserables
Anne Hathaway could easily win supporting actress. Her “I Dreamed a Dream” is the showstopper. #LesMiserables

Clayton Davis ‏@AwardsCircuit Poor Russell Crowe. With everyone singing spectacular, he stands out like a sore thumb. #LesMiserables

Steven Zeitchik ‏@ZeitchikLAT Hathaway is a stand-out, albeit in very few scenes; Jackman and Crowe singing is solid but doesn’t reach for as much. #LesMiserables

Julie Stone @Julie_Stone #LesMiserables screening audience burst into applause after songs and gave a long standing ovation during the credits.

Samantha Massell ‏@smassellsings Still reeling from the amazingness that was today. #lesmiserables#firstEVERscreening
In case I wasn’t clear, the #lesmiserables movie is absolutely UNREAL. Ten million points to #TomHooper for doing this musical movie RIGHT.

Jennifer Ravalli ‏@JennNYU Got to be one of the first people to see #lesmiserables today @SAGscreening! It was amazing! Totally love the brilliant #eddieredmayne

Jo Foster ‏@jo1foster Sobbed my eyes out. Les Miserables. WHAT AN EPIC MOVIE. #lesmiserables

Lucy Gibson ‏@LucyRGibson Can’t say too much about #lesmiserables until its release but I will say this: it grabs your heart and squeezes it till you cry like a baby
I’m going to call it early but #lesmiserables has Best Picture written all over it

hugh-jackman-les-miserables-photoHere’s the synopsis for Les Miserables:

Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed byThe King’s Speech‘s Academy Award®-winning director,Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, with further casting to be announced.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption–a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale. With international superstars and beloved songs–including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” and “On My Own”–Les Misérables, the show of shows, is now reborn as the cinematic musical experience of a lifetime.


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