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Parents' Guide to

Les Misérables

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Powerful French drama has police brutality, strong language.

Movie R 2020 104 minutes
Les Misérables Poster Image

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Set just outside of Paris, and loosely based on real events, this uncompromising French drama explores the dynamics and growing tensions between the police and the diverse neighborhood they serve. Les Misérables -- not to be confused with Victor Hugo's 19th century novel, although its presence lingers throughout -- shows the delicate threads that can hold a community together. Bonnard is excellent as "new kid on the block" Ruiz. Initially he watches on as his fellow officers bounce between community overseers to power-abusing overlords. But as the situation escalates, his conscience forces him to step in.

Comparisons to 1995's La Haine -- another superb French drama that tackled similar issues -- are well-founded. But Ladj Ly's feature-length directorial debut is deserving of its own standing. It's to Ly's credit that he can both generate sympathy and detest for the large array of characters. When the movie's final act kicks off, the scenes may be distressing, but you understand how they came about. A tough watch, that shines a light on issues that are all too sadly just as relevant today as they were in 1995. Perhaps even more so.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 10, 2020
  • On DVD or streaming: January 9, 2020
  • Cast: Damien Bonnard , Alexis Manenti , Djebril Zonga
  • Director: Ladj Ly
  • Studio: Amazon Studios
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language throughout, some disturbing/violent content, and sexual references
  • Last updated: August 24, 2022

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