From Don Hauptman:
You can believe the hype: Les Miserables is magnificent. The achievement is especially noteworthy given Hollywood’s reputation, stretching back decades, for butchering stage musicals.
During its 16-year run on Broadway, I saw the show five times. The film is faithful to the stage version, and even improves on it in some respects. Director Tom Hooper, who directed the fine, Oscar-winning King’s Speech, deftly solved the problems of transferring a “sung-through” musical to the screen. The film has uniformly superb performances, high production values, stunning images, and some clever small visual touches.
I saw Les Miserables on opening day out of town. But I strongly recommend that New Yorkers see it at the Ziegfeld, our last genuine “movie palace,” the splendor of which matches that of the film.
Sidebar: If you stay through the credits — I always do — at the end you’ll find a lovely, thoughtful tribute by director Hooper, thanking his parents for introducing him, at the age of 12, to musical theater. But for the addition of a year, I can say the same.