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Les Miserables: You Take My Breath Away

I didn't say anything before because I didn't know if we'd get in but ... I just saw Les Miserables!

Tom Hooper was showing his highly-anticipated film today at several industry screenings here in L.A. today;  MLH and I went to a noon screening held at the Aero theatre in Santa Monica. The film took my breath away and I was by no means alone. The entire audience erupted into applause three times during the movie, not just after - I can't think of a movie musical that has ever elicited that kind of response. Certainly not from a Hollywood insider crowd which honestly, does often seem  more inclined to be critical and blase; or at least wary about showing outward signs of enthusiam.

When the director, Tom Hooper, entered the theatre for the Q& A after the movie, he was greeted not just with the respect due him from an insider crowd well-versed in the difficulties of his achievement but also the thunderous applause of that same audience having been utterly swept off its' feet in a standing ovation. That same audience moved to cheers and yes, tears.

I'm still in a whirl about what I've seen so I won't attempt 'my take' on the film yet. I will tell you what I told Mr. Hooper when I ran into him in the lobby. I'd raced to the restroom after the Q&A (Can you imagine? A two and a half hour movie plus a 45 minute Q&A? Without a break because I couldn't bear the thought of missing one magical moment. A woman my age? Please, there's my review right there!)  There was quite a line at the loo and by the time I got back to the theatre lobby it was empty except for a few stragglers. I didn't see MLH but I did see Tom Hooper standing just a few feet from me. He was waiting to go in and introduce the film to the 4pm crowd then he would be going back across town to the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences in the valley - where he'd introduced a 1pm screening prior to doing our Q&A, for yet another Q&A. I should have left the poor man alone. But he was alone and I couldn't resist. I walked over and told him thank you for giving the world such a beautiful Christmas gift. That anyone who has ever loved Les Miz can now have this to treasure whenever they please. I also told him I was worried I was going to sob right out loud during the movie and embarass my husband, but when I looked over, MLH was sobbing too. Hooper, tall and lanky, in a suit but without a tie, was very kind and actually gave me a hug.

Hooper said I might be getting ahead of myself when I suggested he'd be getting another Oscar but honestly, I can't think of anything I've seen this year that stands a chance against this one. Granted I haven't seen Life of Pi but I would be floored if two films could reach the heights Les Miz reached, in one year. It's just too majestic a movie. Too sweeping an accomplishment. (It's small of me, I know, to doubt the existence of two simultaneous miracles). Even  LINCOLN, a film I loved and the closest thing Les Miserables will have to a rival, simply can't soar like this film and this cast does.

In fact, MLH who has never seen Les Miz (I know!) admits to being 'profoundly moved'. My action loving guy had to excuse himself from the theatre before the lights came up for the Q&A, tears streaming down his face.  He ran into Eddie Redmayne (Marius) who was waiting to go in and take part in the Q&A. MLH, known for occasional bouts of gregariousness grabbed Redmayne and said  'Look what you've done to me!'  or words to that effect.

Honestly, I'm done in for today but promise more Les Miserables to come. (Click the link to read another Les Miz post)

Bottom line.


Can you guess which three songs had the audience applauding?