The bit in Les Misérables where Anne Hathaway sings ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ is really great

Saturday December 8th 2012

More and more, I’m beginning to realise that I don’t really care whether a film is wholly good. If Silver Linings Playbook is basically solid throughout but lacks a single moment as visceral, honest and searing as the fumbled sex scene towards the end of Hope Springs, who’s to say that it’s necessarily the superior movie?

Les Misérables, while far from a perfect film, is a good example of a movie that contains a single scene of such unfathomable cinematic perfection that to dwell on its various failings seems cruel and unusual. The scene in question is an unbroken take, in stark close-up, of Anne Hathaway singing I Dreamed A Dream. In the space of three gloriously sincere, heartfelt minutes, the scene confirms Tom Hooper as a director capable of great things and Hathaway as one of the best actors of her generation.

When the Les Mis team inevitably take the stage at the Kodak Theatre next February to collect the film’s Best Picture statuette (seriously, they might as well start engraving it now), I’ll do my best to remind myself of those three minutes and give the film its due.

Perhaps some movies don’t need to be The Master. Maybe all they need is one great scene.