‘‘I do think it’s the greatest gift that cinema can bestow is when it can actually take something about the pain of being human and make you feel a little bit better about it.’’
Part of the strong effect of ‘‘Les Miserables’’ might be attributed to its timeliness. Hugo’s story of populist uprising in 1832 Paris resounds in an era of the Arab Spring, the Occupy protests and general frustration over economic inequality.
‘‘We’re at a point where we regularly have images of revolution on our front page, on TV,’’ says Hooper. ‘‘'Les Miserables’ is the great anthem of dispossessed. The people’s song is to ‘hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men.’ It’s the great expression of collective anger against an unjust system.’’
Hooper finished working on the film only the night before it was first screened in late November. And while he felt the need to hurry on to the next thing after ‘‘The King’s Speech,’’ making ‘‘Les Miserables’’ — ‘‘an oil tanker of a picture,’’ he says — has left him wanting only to curl up in a corner and sleep.
‘‘It’s like I've gotten the difficult second album out,’’ says Hooper. ‘‘After the difficult second album, you can relax a little.’’
Follow Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle