Why people hate Les Miserables – and Tom Hooper to a certain extend?

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  • Saulo Correa Ferreira
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    #193766

    Hello, reading some of the posts on Danish girl and on the les Miserables imdb page I realized that a lot of people don’t like the director and his movies. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with his victory over David Fincher in 2010’s Oscar, but I do think that in both his movies demonstrate that even if his movies aren’t the best looking visually speaking, he knows how to get good acting from his cast (I think that everybody on les mis gives great performances.. Yes, even Crowe) and knows how to tell his stories.
    Les mis is a great example. Having seen the musical before the movie, I think that the movie is the best adaptation possible. Yes, there are a lot of close ups and some notes are off, but as a movie, I thought it worked perfectly and it deserved the best picture nomination. I think that the closes up helps since everything is being sung, and, for hooper’s credit, even if the movie is almost 3 hours long, it never loses its pace.
    So why is the movie and the director not liked? Is there any particular reason?

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    KyleBailey
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    #193768

    Yeah I was talking about this on twitter last night. I think it is alot of bitterness towards his Oscar win over Fincher and Arronofsky. Both directors deserved it more but that doesn’t mean Hooper was bad at directing The King’s Speech, there were just more worthy people in the line up. He has gotten some fantastic performances out of his movies and I seem to be the only one that really loved his direction of Les Mis with the live singing and the framing. The Danish Girl trailer just looks so gorgeous and looks to silence all the haters. He isn’t one of my favorite directors but he isn’t one that I hate for any reason. 

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    Cheshire
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    #193769

    I think the first half (young Cosette) of Les Miserables is great, fantastic, amazing. The second half (older Cosette) I feel does get to bloated for it’s own good. It didn’t bother as much on re-watch as it did in the theater. I rather have a movie start weak and end strong instead of start strong and end weak.

    I love The King’s Speech I think it’s fantastic. My number 1 that year was Black Swan and I knew that ain’t winning but I like The King’s Speech so much that it winning didn’t bother me.

    I’m not head over heels crazy about The Danish Girl trailer but I am looking forward to it.

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    CanadianFan
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    #193770

    His shooting style in ‘Les Miserables’ is so bad.

    Jacques Tati was rolling in his grave with all of those damn close-ups.

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    Halo_Insider
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    #193771

    I enjoyed his work in The King’s Speech well enough, even though I didn’t really think of it as that distinguished of a directorial effort.

    But, wow, his work on Les Mis showed me just how weak he could be outside of performances. I disagree with almost all of the points the OP made. Les Mis has very, very glacial pacing, and the close-ups are so distracting that they are a huge detriment to the performances.

    I feel like the decision to shoot them singing live was a mistake personally. It’s an admirable experiment, and some of the performances (Hathaway, Barks) are able to shine because of it. But others (Crowe, Cohen, Carter) were just so limited as a result. I’ve seen the play, too, and I think that the film’s rendition of “Master of the House” is so underwhelming in comparison.

    Even Anne Hathaway’s big “I Dreamed a Dream” moment is marred somewhat
    because it’s not visually dynamic whatsoever. It’s just a shot of her
    singing with a boring background behind her.

    I don’t hate Tom Hooper’s guts. I agree that he *can* get good performances out of his actors more often than not (pretty much the only bad one I’ve seen is Russell Crowe, and even he has his moments. And I like 2009’s The Damned United quite a bit. But his Oscar win is truly one of the weakest in the category in a long while. Forget David Fincher. Everyone else in the category (and quite a few not nominated) would have been so much more deserving.

    I’m looking forward to the performances in The Danish Girl, but that’s pretty much it.

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    CAROL-CHANNING
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    #193772

    I think Hooper’s direction of The King’s Speech is good.  Very good, actually.  But his achievement for directing it pales in comparison to David Fincher’s for The Social Network.  I think his nomination was worthy, but the fact that he won is insane to me.  I don’t hate The King’s Speech (it was my third favorite of the BP noms that year), but I will never get behind its win.

    I honestly and truly appreciate Hooper’s direction of Les Mis.  Sure, some moments are really quite bad.  But some moments are fantastic.  I don’t mind the close ups, and I think they add a certain solitary vision to the movie.  I Dreamed a Dream, love it or hate it, was filmed in a very memorable way and created an iconic image in the movie musical canon.  Sure, the style of filming was pretty self-indulgent, but then again, so is the musical (which I love, despite its flaws).  And I think the live singing was a fantastic decision.  I also appreciate the fact that so much of the musical was left in-tact and very little was cut.  Stage-to-screen musical adaptations are my absolute favorite, so while some people might complain about the movie being three hours, I’ll complain that it isn’t longer.

    I think the biggest flaw in Les Mis was the editing.  It didn’t sync with the music during moments when it was crucial, and some moments were so choppy that you didn’t have time to take in the great visuals.  It also made it where you had a hard time figuring out where people were in relation to each other.  It looked like some people were just magically appearing out of walls.  And the whole middle section with the rescuing of Cossette (around the song Suddenly, which is awful and should never have been put in the movie) is definitely the weakest section for me.

    Overall, I like the movie because Tom Hooper took risks with it, even if they didn’t work out.  I’ll take a sloppy, but interesting movie version of Les Mis over that bland and uninspired adaptation of Into the Woods from last year anyday.

     

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    KyleBailey
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    #193773

    I think Hooper’s direction of The King’s Speech is good.  Very good, actually.  But his achievement for directing it pales in comparison to David Fincher’s for The Social Network.  I think his nomination was worthy, but the fact that he won is insane to me.  I don’t hate The King’s Speech (it was my third favorite of the BP noms that year), but I will never get behind its win.

    I honestly and truly appreciate Hooper’s direction of Les Mis.  Sure, some moments are really quite bad.  But some moments are fantastic.  I don’t mind the close ups, and I think they add a certain solitary vision to the movie.  I Dreamed a Dream, love it or hate it, was filmed in a very memorable way and created an iconic image in the movie musical canon.  Sure, the style of filming was pretty self-indulgent, but then again, so is the musical (which I love, despite its flaws).  And I think the live singing was a fantastic decision.  I also appreciate the fact that so much of the musical was left in-tact and very little was cut.  Stage-to-screen musical adaptations are my absolute favorite, so while some people might complain about the movie being three hours, I’ll complain that it isn’t longer.

    I think the biggest flaw in Les Mis was the editing.  It didn’t sync with the music during moments when it was crucial, and some moments were so choppy that you didn’t have time to take in the great visuals.  It also made it where you had a hard time figuring out where people were in relation to each other.  It looked like some people were just magically appearing out of walls.  And the whole middle section with the rescuing of Cossette (around the song Suddenly, which is awful and should never have been put in the movie) is definitely the weakest section for me.

    Overall, I like the movie because Tom Hooper took risks with it, even if they didn’t work out.  I’ll take a sloppy, but interesting movie version of Les Mis over that bland and uninspired adaptation of Into the Woods from last year anyday.

     

    I agree with all of this! (Except for the part about Into the Woods) 🙂  

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    John
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    #193774

    Regarding Tom Hooper, I’m waiting to see how Danish Girl does. It’s slated for limited release in November, and it’s only his his fifth feature film (not counting TV productions as they’re entirely different budgets, production values, special effects, shooting schedules, etc.). He’s a young director, he’s a Brit, and he did Brit Commonwealth oriented films until Les Mis. He’s been a Boy Wonder with his feature films like Alejandro González Iñárritu. Darren Aronfsky has been another Boy Wonder with a handful of films but only has one Best Picture nomination. His latest, Noah (2014), did well with the critics but wasn’t cited as top ten and it was ignored by AMPAS, although it was a box office hit.

    I believe much of the anomisity toward Hooper over his 2010 win is his being on the other side of the Atlantic Pond combined with being a young director (King’s Speech and Les Mis were his 3rd and 4th films). Some undoubtedly think he might be a flash in the pan that needs to prove himself with more films. If Aronofsky had won for Black Swan I believe he would be taking the heat instead of Hooper as — it seems to me — the issue is more about Fincher not having won Best Director in 2010 than specifically who did win Best Director instead of Fincher. He’s done more feature films with excellent acclaim and award nominations than Hooper or Aronofsky. Consequently there are many who felt that it was “his turn” to win it, especially after not winning Best Director in 2008 for Benjamin Button. Personally I don’t buy into that. It should go to the Best Director that year without regard for past work. I didn’t care for the 2010 Best Director nominee list; Christopher Nolan was very notably missing from it.

    John

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    John
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    #193775

    Regarding Les Mis, it’s a film that doesn’t receive much ambivalence in audience reaction. I was at the house of some close friends doing interval training on a cycling trainer while watching it, and wasn’t prepared for a completely musical dialog. It wasn’t long into the movie before I realized why it got a Best Picture nomination, but also realized there would be those that most definitely would not like it at all. Any film with a very polarized audience reaction, the negative, even if they’re a distinct minority, are going to be vocal about their distaste for the movie.

    Attention does get divided doing intervals on a trainer as gearing and cadence changes frequently, it’s a sweat drenching strenuous workout, and when there’s over a half-dozen trainers whizzing it also masks some of the audio (we have subtitles turned on for that reason). We watch movies on a very large screen TV to keep from being bored staring at a wall for an hour (gear and cadence changes are on small monitors next to it). It’s on my “watch again” list for that reason when it can get my undivided attention. For me, the first time around was very good, once I got past the first couple minutes of surprise.

    John

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    manakamana
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    #193776

    I was just talking about this. I do understand why people dislike Les Mis, but I found it enjoyable. I don’t think he deserves an Oscar or anything, but I REALLY like The King’s Speech, The Damned United, John Adams, Longford, and Elizabeth I. Les Mis was really his first work that wasn’t critically well-respected. I think he’ll get a certain reevaluation when fanboys stop being pissy about his Oscar track record.

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    JB
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    #193777

    The problem is that those haters are just really loud and aggressive. And it’s the internet, so take it with a grain of salt.

    I for one absolutely love “Les Miserables”. It was my favorite film of 2012 and I adored every part of it (save for Russell Crowe’s solos). It deserved all the Awards attention it received and more in my book. And as for Tom Hooper, I really enjoy his work as well and am thrilled he won for “The Kings Speech” which is also a fantastic film. (And that’s no direspect to “The Social Network” and Fincher’s wonderful work).

    I cant wait for “The Danish Girl” and highly expect it to live up to Hooper’s impressive filmography. It looks brilliant.  

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    KyleBailey
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    #193778

    Yeah it still holds a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. It wasn’t panned. There were just people who really loved it and people who really hated it. Not many inbetween. I don’t think Aronofsky would be hated on. Many adore him for Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler. I think people would have accepted him if he won. The Coens weren’t going to win so close to No Country for Old Men and come on, David O. Russell for The Fighter? HE would have been the one that got the same flack Hooper gets. Though The Fighter was good, Danny Boyle really deserved his slot for 127 Hours. But I digress. Les Mis is all in taste and how much a person loves musical theater 

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    PJ Edwards
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    #193779

    Les Miserable was terrible. Fish Eye lenses, every song shot like a demo reel, LOLRUSSELLCROWE. It’s a simpleton movie made for simpletons.

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    CanadianFan
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    #193780

    Darren Aronofsky is a terrible comparison for Hooper. The former had already made enough critical gems (‘The Wrestler’, ‘Requiem for a Dream’) and daring experiments (‘The Fountain’, ‘Pi’) that there would be no backlash if he would have won. ‘Black Swan’ has style! ‘The King’s Speech’ is rather conventional from a stylistic perspective, although the acting is excellent. 

    The backlash comes doesn’t just come from Hooper winning the Oscar, but also for not being able to retroactively prove that he even belonged in the conversation. In fact, his most recent film has exposed some of his limits, and so the win looks even worse now.

    Roger Ebert’s thoughts:

    Looking at the nine films nominated for Best Picture, I find only one that I flatly don’t believe was a good film, the near-unbearable “Les Miserables.” Victor Hugo’s superbly entertaining novel has been transformed into a lumbering musical of dirges that rise and fall, with the occasional relief of a little rinky-dink tune. “

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    manakamana
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    #193781

    Darren Aronofsky is a terrible comparison for Hooper. The former had already made enough critical gems (‘The Wrestler’, ‘Requiem for a Dream’) and daring experiments (‘The Fountain’, ‘Pi’) that there would be no backlash if he would have won.

    I know a lot of people who think those movies are quite amateurish, including Black Swan. I like Black Swan and Pi, flaws and all, but I think The Fountain is a failed experiment, The Wrestler is about average and Requiem for a Dream is overwrought. Aronofsky is always going to be an interesting filmmaker, but he’s still evolving as an artist. No way he would have deserved an Oscar for any of these, and there would be tons of backlash.

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