Parents' Guide to

Les Miserables

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Excellent film adaptation of gritty, heartbreaking musical.

Movie PG-13 2012 157 minutes
Les Miserables Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 48 parent reviews

age 12+

Incredible film

Les Miserables is my favourite film, and my daughter's too. We watch it together lots and we cry at the many sad bits and sometimes sing along to the great songs. There is almost no talking involved, it's all singing, but they make it work fantastically. And the cast is brilliant - Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried etc. Anyway, I'm going to skip the raving and get on with the review. VIOLENCE: The film starts off with the main character being given parole. The convicts look ragged and beaten up, and they are hauling in a ship with their bare hands using ropes. The police catch a man who was stealing before throwing him on the ground, kicking him and whacking his head very hard with a truncheon so it bleeds. There are some scenes of the French Revolution, where a lot of shots are fired. Many men fall over dead, but hardly any blood during the revolution scenes. A boy (around 11) is shot dead during this scene as well. It is quite upsetting as some of the men cry and later you see his dead body (just him lying on the floor with a bit of blood on his coat). Also a woman who pretended to be a man so she could fight in the revolution and be with the man she loved gets shot and she has an emotional song with the man she loves while she is dying. A man commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. His body lands in the water and you hear a crack as his back breaks. A man shoves snow down the front of a woman's dress so she scratches his face and there is a little blood on his cheek. SEX: There is a sequence where a woman prostitutes herself out of desperation. A man lies on top of her briefly inside a box thing (both fully clothed as far as you can see) while she cries silently. It is not "sexy" or revealing or explicit in any way. She sings a very emotional song afterwards. The sequence is set in a brothel and there are lots of prostitutes showing a lot of cleavage. In this sequence she also sells a tooth, you don't see it, just prostitutes crowding round her while the man buying it takes out a pair of plier things. My point is, the whole sequence is by far the most upsetting bit of the film and involves mature themes like prostitution, sex and brothels so you may want to cover your child's eyes or skip through this bit and just tell them what happens, as all of the prostitute bits are in one sequence. Apart from this sequence, some lyrics in Master of the House have sexual references such as "ready for a quick one or a thick one in the park" and "thinks he's quite a lover, but there's not much there." Two characters kiss. LANGUAGE: Very little language, just a few words such as "bitch," "ass," "hell," "damn," and "bastard," The word "sh*t" is used once. DRINKING/DRUGS/SMOKING: Some scenes where people drink wine, including a scene at an inn filled with drunk people. A prostitute is given strong alcohol. This is an amazing film, I really recommend watching it. It is uplifting and inspiring, and even though Jean Valjean was a convict he only stole bread to stop his nephew from starving to death, and he dedicated his life after that to helping people, even adopting a dying woman's daughter and raising her. The students fight for what they believe is right in the revolution, and Fantine is a devoted mother who just wants the best for her child. I think it depends on the child when you show them this film. I think 12+ but if your child is clued up and able to deal with seeing the stuff in this film at a younger age, show them at 11 or 10. My daughter was fine watching this when she was 10 but she covered her eyes for the sex bit, she said she felt a bit upset and uncomfortable watching it because the woman clearly didn't want to do it. It's also worth noting that Jean Valjean carries the wounded Marius to safety through a sewer, there is lots of gross sewage and they end up covered in it when he walks out. She covered her eyes for that bit too because it was gross. Or if your child doesn't like watching people die in films or you don't see the point in showing them the film while skipping the brothel sequence, leave it until they're a bit older. I think any 14 year old would be fine to watch this amazing film.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
3 people found this helpful.
age 18+


Very bad language; plenty of cleavage and sexual references; Too many characters die; evil, scary. The leading man can really sing. That’s the only happy place in the movie. Yeah, religious people are portrayed as doing well. No kid should see this. It would give them nightmares.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (48):
Kids say (187):

From the first scene, Les Miserables is both majestic and brutal, the beauty of the cinematography and the music achingly juxtaposed against the cruelty and savagery of its characters' lives. Expect your emotions to be wrenched this way and that; the actors -- especially Jackman, Hathaway, and Crowe -- have thrown everything on the table, making for a movie you won't easily forget. Director Tom Hooper had the actors sing live as the cameras rolled, and it was a brilliant decision, capturing the rawness of performances that sought to elevate the actors beyond warbling iconic songs in tune. You can feel them living the lyrics, sampling them as if they've never been sung before.

No wonder the film has earned so many accolades; this one's worth the buzz. Crowe's craggy, rock-star voice at times feels at odds with the rest of the cast's style, but his deeply felt Javert persuades. In the end, he seems utterly lost and broken, and we feel for him. At times you wish the camera would pull back a little, or that the score could quiet down a little to let a moment just be -- there's virtue in the plainly staged scene, too -- but there are few of those, thankfully. Les Miserables is a wonder.

Movie Details

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