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Les Miserables reviews: What makes the movie different from the stage show?

Les Miserables reviews: British director Tom Hooper says the movie provides emotion via close ups. Les Miserables made its English language debut 27 years ago.

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 For British director Tom Hooper, the key to turning "Les Miserables" from the wildly popular stage musical to a cinematic experience both sweeping and intimate, was all in the close-up.

The stage musical has left audiences around the world wiping away tears with its themes of justice, redemption and romantic and familial love. So bringing it to life on screen for fans and filmgoers was "hugely daunting," Hooper says.

Still, the Oscar-winning director of "The King's Speech," was ambitious, wanting to offer even more of the "intense emotional experience" that has kept fans returning to various stage productions since "Les Miserables" made its English language debut 27 years ago.

"I felt very aware of the fact that so many millions of people hold this close to their hearts and would probably sit in the cinemas in complete fear," Hooper told reporters about his big screen take on the tale of French revolutionaries rising up against powerful forces.

Movie stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway were all put through an intense audition and rehearsal process, to make sure they could sing take after take, live, with cameras positioned right in their face.

It also features a large ensemble including Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne, as well as Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter who lead the comic relief song, "Master of the House."

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