I guess it’s true about Les Miserables not being a critic’s film — it currently has a 63% Rotten Tomatoes grade, which means it’s flunking. (Anything below 80% means trouble, but below 70% means get out the life jackets.) But the real bellwether is the fact that MCN’s David Poland, who seems to have a special place in his heart for musicals as he has befriended more than a few of them, has panned Les Miz rather harshly.
“I am not a moron,” Poland states. “I can deal with building the factual reality in my head when the style of the film decides against being literal. But that is what is so much the failure of Les Miserables…it wants it both ways. It wants to be profoundly intimate, suffering in extreme close-up, the singing-on-the-set choice (the endless hype about which has turned it from ‘choice’ to ‘stunt’), and shooting almost completely in singles and tight doubles. Edit. Edit. Edit.
“But the material is huge and epic and melodramatic. So the effect of Tom Hooper’s direction is like looking at Mount Everest through the wrong side of the binoculars.”