Les Misérables – rapturous applause from the audience

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 13th January 2013

I’ve been longing to see the movie of Les Misérables since last spring, when I unexpectedly stumbled on to the film set during a visit to Greenwich. With filming due to take place the following day, I couldn’t quite work out how the giant stone elephant and extraordinary pile of old wood, furniture and rubbish the crew had built next to the Old Royal Naval College would look in the movie.

Well now I know – because the film is out in the UK and I foolishly went to see it with my husband at the weekend. I say foolishly because a) I can’t think of a single film we’ve both liked (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Lincoln) and b) he hates musicals.  But he sweetly went along with my Les Mis plan – and apart from the moment when he whispered a bit too loudly “Oh God, he’s not going to snuff it, is he?” didn’t complain too much.

So what was our verdict? You won’t be surprised to hear that my husband loathed it. As for me, I thought parts of it were stunning, but at 157 minutes it is way too long and I’m sorry, but the Old Royal Naval College does notlook like 19th century Paris.

The best bits of the film, I reckoned, were Anne Hathaway’s touching I Dreamed a Dream, the comic pairing of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the evil innkeeper and his wife (their performances veer slightly towards panto, but are very funny), Samantha Barks as Eponine (she gives a wonderful performance of On My Own) and child actor Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche (who steals every scene he appears in).

The Tom Hooper-directed film has won three Golden Globes – and been nominated for nine BAFTAs and eight Oscars, including Best Picture Award, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman) and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway). Some critics have given it ecstatic, five-star reviews, although others have been less enamoured. But on Saturday night in Oxford the audience (apart from my husband) clapped wildly at the end.  I’ve never seen that happen at the cinema before.

16 comments so far

  • Really looking forward to seeing this – although I have to wait until February as it’s not out in France yet!

  • I went to see it on the Saturday just gone, the room was packed and everybody clapped at the end too. I didn’t even realise how long it was on for I enjoyed it that much. I’ll be going back this weekend to watch it all over again – I’ve loved Les Miserables since the first time I saw it in the theatre when I was 16. Great film!

  • I loved it Emma. My husband too (luckily)! We have this musical score running through our veins though, as our children auditioned for Cosette and Gavroch when Les Mis came to Preston; they were recalled but had both grown slightly in the interim. They played various parts in amateur dramatic productions which we loved watching. I have seen the the ate version twice but always from a great distance, so I loved the film as I got to see faces close up! What great story lines within this powerful tale. Thanks for posting about it!

  • Emma…Hello. Happy New Year! My neighbour said they clapped in cinema she went to in London. My 11 year old was asking if he would like it. What do you think?

  • Happy New Year to you too, Kate. It sounds as though every audience in the country has applauded at the end. Re your 11 year old, it’s a 12A but hard to say. There’s a scene with prostitutes, though it isn’t explicit, and some characters die. What do other people think?

  • Haven’t seen Les Mis yet however when I went to see the Martin Scorscese documentary on George Harrison, Living In The Material World at the cinema a couple of years ago, the entire audience burst into spontaneous applause at the end so I have witnessed this phenomenon before. I like it. Reminds me of when I was on my first flight to Italy in the 80s. As the plane touched safely down on the tarmac the , mostly Italian, passengers, applauded enthusiastically. Thankfulness & Joie de vivre. I’ve witnessed it many times since, of course.

  • We thoroughly enjoyed it! Not perfect, by any means -and I take your point re the old Naval College, but for all of us (Me, MrsJJ and DauNo1) the pluses certainly eclipsed the minuses.

    No doubt we’ll get the DVD when it is issued.

    Of course, now I know the detail of the inside of Anne Hathaway’s left nostril better than I know my own – but she has rescued I Dreamed a Dream from Susan Boyle permanently.

    For the technically minded, you do NOT pull a ship’s hull into a graving dock like that!

    JJ (not a dry eye in the house)

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