All member reviews for Les Miserables

Common Sense Media says

Excellent film adaptation of gritty, heartbreaking musical.

Users say

(out of 133 reviews)
age 13+
Review this title!
Parent of a 14 year old Written byTerryD December 26, 2012

Excellent adaptation of a Classic

I have seen the play twice and they did a wonderful job of incorporating the music by letting the actors sing in real time. There were nuances in their performances that a stage production cannot show. I won't go into all the details of the actual movie as other reviews already have done so, but anyone who knows the story of Victor Hugo's novel and the time and period it takes place in should know it has to be gritty to fully convey the struggles of the period as well as classic themes of love, redemption, loss, faith, poverty, class warfare, and hope. As for the reviewer who said read the book instead, my son read the book at age 12 (he has a love of history and had seen the musical on Broadway and I felt he was ready to tackle Mr. Hugo's prose) and his only comment was he wished they could have included ValJean's escape from the convent in the movie but realized the book was over 1000 pages long. I think as always you have to know your child when taking them to a movie such as this, but even the scenes of prostitution etc. will go over younger viewers heads in that the "sex" is not overt. Moreover, there are many excellent themes to discuss.
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Great messages
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Too much violence
Too much sex
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Teen, 13 years old Written byRango813 December 25, 2012

I LOVED it!!

This movie blew me away. I already knew most of the songs, and had listened to the album, so I expected something great. Boy, was I wrong! This movie isn't great at all; it's THE BEST! Seriously, I LOVED this movie, all of its 2 hr 41 minutes of it. There are some things I think may draw a red flag, but they are part of the plot. The first one that comes is that Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is kicked out of work and becomes a prostitute to pay for her child, Cosette. There is some of this depicted, such as her first time sleeping with a man for money, and a song, "Lovely Ladies", is all about prostitutes. The other thing is that *Spoiler Alert* a 12-year-old boy, Gavaroche, is shot by soilders. Besides those minor things, the only maybe negative I can say is, bring your tissues, this is a real tear-jerker! The ending made everyone sniff once or twice in my theater. This is my new favorite movie and will DEFINITELY see it again. EDIT: I have now seen the movie 9 times. I love it that much! It still makes me cry a ton. My dad saw some of it and he didn't like it (he doesn't like emotional stuff/movie musicals), but I still recommend it to everybody!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 17 year old Written byTsion December 26, 2012

Heartbreaking and Uplifting - A Staggering Accomplishment

Les Miserables is the definition of epic: at two-and-a-half hours, it is an almost entirely sung-through operetta. The movie remarkably recreates the vibrant, gritty Paris of the early 1800s in a story of sin, redemption, love, violence, tragedy, and ultimately, peace and hope. The story revolves around the redemption of convict Jean Valjean, who, after his life is changed by a single act of forgiveness, struggles to raise the daughter of a poor prostitute while he evades Inspector Javert, who hunts Valjean through the years of his life. The wildly successful musical is even more emotional onscreen. I've been a fan for years, but I didn't feel the epic power of the story and music until I saw this film. It's heartbreaking to watch some scenes of suffering, but ultimately the story revolves around one central message: "to love another person is to see the face of God." The movie is fantastic for teens and their parents. Violence is the biggest concern here. Many main characters are killed, including a suicide and a young boy who is shot twice. Blood is shown during shooting and on dead bodies. Several women are hit or otherwise harmed by men. Sexual references are frequent in the first third of the film, during which a main theme is prostitution. A main character sells her body out of desperation, and the end of a sexual act with a client is shown with some sexual movement but no nudity, and is followed by a wrenching ballad of broken hopes and dreams. Many prostitutes are shown trying to seduce customers. Casual lyrics and dialogue reference erections, sexually transmitted diseases, and other adult themes, but nothing is glamorized. Language is mild, with the harshest word being a single use of "s**t." The movie is truly a life-changer. It preaches that sacrifice and forgiveness should fill everyone's life and motivate our actions. The main character lives his life for the betterment of others, and other characters redeem themselves and give to others consistently. In recent times full of violence and loss, Les Miserables isn't just flawless filmmaking, though it is certainly perfect. It's a beacon of hope in darkness.
What other families should know
Great messages
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Too much violence
Too much sex
Educator Written bypatr1000 January 26, 2013

Excellent Message...

I have noticed that there have been many complaints about the prostitution and violence in this movie. As a history scholar, this was really the way it was in 1800's France; especially in the impoverished areas. One line of a song actually is, "we all do what we must to survive." Unlike other films, the sex (which is minimal with little nudity) and violence (which is only slightly bloody), it is not gratitious but necessary to the story. However, that said, I would recommend 16 as a minimum age in viewing, "Les Miserables," despite its PG-13 rating. The movie has an overwhelming positive message and character. Jean Valjean does whatever is moral and right, despite the consequences to him. At the end the line is sung, "To love another is to see the face of God." That is a message we must all heed.
What other families should know
Great messages
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Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 12 and 13 year old Written bymorganwd3 January 31, 2014

PG-13 - What were they thinking?

This is a well done movie but unfortunately some of the scenes are not appropriate for 13 year olds. There are a few scenes of prostitution and a sex scene that would be intense for adults. We had to cover our kids eyes and ears when they started. The movie is much more appropriate after Fantine dies. It is a pity they had to make those scenes so intense as the movie would be fine for 12 and above without them. It gives a great a opportunity to talk to your kids about the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille as historical equivalents.
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byTheBoyWhoLived2015 April 5, 2015

Les Miserables

I personally think this is a spectacular film. Although this may be quite high in violence and sexual references, this is a great film that will teach your kids about the French Revolution. My MPAA: PG-13 - Adult Themes, Sexual References, Some Violence
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Too much violence
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Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byMovieLover92 March 24, 2013

Best Move of the Year!

I have listened to the music of Les Miserables and I never really actually knew what the story was about until I saw this film. I knew it was a musical about the French Revolution and about people who were affected by it but other than that I didn't know the full meaning of the story. The music is amazing. They made a good decision deciding to do the music live and not recording it and lip singing on screen. It made the story more meaningful and alive. The visual effects were phenomenal and made the movie feel like it was apart of a dream on stage yet it still felt real. They picked an awesome cast. Anne Hathaway really depicted Fantine wonderfully and Russel Crowe did a beautiful job as Javert. There is a lot of suggestive themes and it isn't a film that young children should watch without an adult but other than that a beautiful adaption to Les Miserables.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educator and Parent Written bysueh16 January 28, 2013

Good movie, but not appropriate for children

Seeing Les Mis on the big screen with so many close-up shots made it much more intense than seeing it on stage. I thought the actors did a great job and I found myself pulled into the plot much more after seeing it on screen than when I saw it on stage years ago. Some of the scenes were very emotional.I don't think this movie is appropriate for children below 16 or 17, mainly because of the raw sexuality portrayed in the scenes with the prostitutes and with the inn keeper and his wife. Also, the scenes in which the boy was shot and Javert committed suicide were much more disturbing on screen than they were on stage. On a positive note, I appreciated the Christian imagery and the positive social teachings (forgiveness, redemption, concern for the poor) that were woven into the movie.
Educator and Parent Written bydetroitjohn January 2, 2013

Outstanding portrayal of Hugo's work

There is something here for everyone, from the Les Mis connoisseur to the newbie, you’ll be glad you went if you can patiently endure a very different type of movie. A musical (largely lost to our generation) based on the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, it contains only sporadic dialogue squeezed in between songs from the play and a few additional ones inserted to sustain the movies flow (those pauses between play scenes just don’t work on screen). It all comes together remarkably well, is true to the theatrical play and its themes from Hugo's massive original, and even adds to this profound meditation on the limits of the law and the transforming grace of God. The major roles, with one significant exception, soar and in the case of Anne Hathaway (Fantine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) I would say spectacularly. Hathaway’s haunting and exulting, “I Had a Dream” is really the show-stealer. Redmayne similarly delivers a nuanced performance, taking advantage of the extreme facial close-ups to highlight his subtle expressions that would normally be missed if viewing the play at a theater. Behind Hathaway’s scene, I would place his duet with Amanda Seyfreid, “A Heart Full of Love”, as my second favorite. It’s done with emotion, Seyfried’s radiance perfectly complimenting Marius’ bashfulness and romantic eagerness. Using the facial close-ups, the director so often delivers little subtleties in the foreground and background, in this scene an out-of-focus butterfly that nicely captures the couple’s blossoming love. The musical on screen, unlike the play, gives you a chance to see up close the faces of the actors and thus, as they sing, further enter into Hugo’s story. While nothing replaces Hugo’s book, I think if you saw this movie or the original play, you would be armed sufficiently to tackle his tome. Hugo’s literary piece remains one of my most beloved and I could not commend the effort more to you. What the play lacks the book sustains, an in-depth development of many characters that the play couldn’t hope to contain. Lengthy explanations of the benevolent bishop, a moving account of Marius’ father, a hero of the battle of Waterloo, which for history buffs is given ample explanation, are just two examples. The play and now the movie provide an ample platform from which to launch and enjoy a classic in Western literature, a profound explanation of God’s grace at work through ordinary sojourners.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byScarboroughBluffer December 31, 2012

Les Mis Rocks!

I was first introduced to Les Misérables in the eighth grade when I had to read the Hugo text for French class. The first third of the movie had me feeling that the adaptation of this beloved and famous musical into a movie was a poor choice by the producers but a strong remaining two thirds of the film started and led by Anne Hathaway's 'I Dreamed A Dream' quickly changed my mind. Hathaway's and Hugh Jackman's acting performances as Fontaine and Jean Valjean were excellent as well as Samathan Barks and Eddie Redmayne's singing performances as Éponine and Marius were also noteworthy as well as Aaron Tvei's performance of the passionate student leader Enjolras. These great performances, unfortunately, mean that Amanda Seyfried's performance as Cosette as well as Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter's performance as the Thénardiers become forgettable even though they were very good as well and deserve praise. The casting of Russell Crowe as Javert has and will continued to be seen by many as the weakest performance out of this ensemble cast with his lack of vocal range and passionate deliverance that his character required, but within the confines and context of the film it is passable though you are left wondering if perhaps someone else, such as the Javert from the 25th anniversary concert (from two years ago) Norm Lewis (which can and should be viewed in its entirety on Youtube especially if you haven't seen the movie yet), was offered the role then the film would have garnered a full 5 out of 5 stars (at least in my book). One of the cautions for this film is, like others have stated, the debauchery, which although not graphic may still be upsetting and off putting for some, and the carnage, which includes, and may leave many to wonder why film boards in Canada or the United States didn't censure or remove the scene especially after the Newtown shootings having occurred only a few weeks ago, a small boy around the age of 7, 8, 9 or 10 getting shot twice and eventually being killed. Overall, this is a great introduction to Les Mis and to the world of musical theatre ,the fine arts as a whole, and to read this and other classical novels if you're looking to milk the educational and cultural exposure angle and the catchy music may leave you trying to sing and re-create 'The Confrontation' between Valjean and Javert in the car ride home!
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Great messages
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Too much violence
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Parent Written byTheDarkKnightFalls May 9, 2015

Les Miserables

Les Miserables is a heart-breaking adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel. This film is set in France, and focuses on Jean Valjean, a convict who spent 19 years in prison, just for stealing a loaf of bread. As the film is historical, I believe that anyone aged 10 and up will enjoy the film. My Classification: M (Adult Themes, Sexual References, Some Violence)
What other families should know
Too much violence
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Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 11 and 11 year old Written bygooberchick January 11, 2013

Spellbinding Film for More Mature Tweens

I was concerned when my 11-yr-old twin girls went to see this with their Grandmother, since I had already read Common Sense Media's review. After they saw the film, they had no awkward questions related to the prostitution. They also seemed to have taken the violence in the film in stride. I would characterize my girls as being mature for their age. They loved the film so much they saw it again just a few days later with my husband and me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
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Too much swearing
Parent of a 7 and 12 year old Written byStephen the great December 26, 2012

Ok for kids

Great movie suitable for kids!
What other families should know
Great messages
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Too much violence
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Parent Written byLillyKitten May 27, 2013

Les Mis and the obsessed eight year old.

I unthinkingly left the film soundtrack on in my car when picking up my eight year old niece to stay over for a few days. It was playing a section of score that involved one of the barricade battle scenes. My niece is exceptionally empathic and gets easily upset by others pain and violence. At first I was horrified by my mistake and went to switch it off, but she was intregued and started asking questions- I gave abridged and often cut answers and she seemed to drop it after we got home. That night when I offered a bedtime story, all she wanted was to hear the story of "The man that stole a loaf of bread". After much pleading, I gave her a much censored version, omitting some of the less appropriate parts and giving the characters with more difficult names nicknames (Though it was adorable to hear her try to pronounce Enjorlras- we ended up calling him Red.) After this I went to Japan for a month. When I came back she'd managed to watch the trailer and some of the snippits of the stage show on You Tube, and was utterly obsessed. After a phone call that involved a lot of pleading and assurances that she was perfectly old enough could she please please please please watch the movie with me? and much discussion with her parents, we decided she was to watch the 25th anniversary cast edition (where death is portrayed by the actor stepping back out of the light and the protitution is only lightly implied) see how she went then if she was still determined, watch the film with me watching her very carefully, insisting she tell us if it got too much. She loved it. She was utterly moved by it, responded to all the themes and though was upset by the deaths, understood the message they represented. She's begging me to take her to the stage show when it comes back next year. The point of this is the film isn't really appropriate for kids under 13, BUT there are some circumstances when it can be. My niece was exceptionally responsive to the themes and seemed ready and willing to face them. It was the right decision in her case.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written bybrown_eyed_girl February 24, 2013

OK for mature teens, probably want to hold off with younger teens/tweens

I find it bizarre CSM cautions against Flight for young teens due to alcoholism and its aftermath, but gives Les Mis a thumbs up for young teens despite a graphic, baudy tavern scene that is highly sexually charged, as well as a violent scene about prostitution (which is heartbreaking thanks to the amazing work of Anne Hathaway). It's a great adaptation of the Broadway musical, but it's still a very adult show with very adult themes. Parents need to understand Victor Hugo's novel deals with heavy themes like the effects of poverty on women and children, justice and forgiveness, and the nature of love. The musical deals with many of these same themes. Some families will be comfortable discussing the more adult themes with younger teens and others will want to hold off until their children are more mature. Don't go into this thinking it's a Glee sing-a-long or The Sound of Music.
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Too much violence
Too much sex
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Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byGracedcommonsense January 1, 2013

Sexual content. Very disturbing.

Good movie with positive messages. However, it was a bit uncomfortable because of the sexual content. There is a scene where Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is on top of a man. Even more disturbing, the man gives a sigh of relief and pleasure when he is on Fantine. There is also a very disturbing scene where a man touches a woman's breast. Lots of drunk people and men stare at women's breasts. There is also a scene where a woman is on top of a Santa and a scene where a man tries to raise Fantine's dress so he can look underneath the dress. The man also touches Fantine's breast. A few swear words, too. Violent scene where a young boy dies by getting shot. Lots of cannons, guns, killing, etc.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byOliviaReviewsIt September 15, 2015

Non-Stop Singing Sensation Will Appeal Only to Fans

After seeing this movie, I believe that it is way overrated. All my friends loved this movie, and I have yet to understand why. I love musicals and I love Victor Hugo's book (I just recently finished it) but the movie bored me so much, because every line is sung, and the movie is two and a half hours long! Overall, it’s a pretty good story, it has great graphics and some excellent musical tracks, but it could have been better than it was. *SPOILERS* There is some language in this movie: ‘shit’ is used at least once. Sexual content is moderate: Fantine becomes a prostitute because she can't find any other way to make money to care for her daughter. There is an encounter, but it is not graphic. A woman dry-humps a man inside of a house during a song. Violence is fairly mild, other than one scene of a young child (Gavroche) getting shot. Inspector Javert commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. I would give this a 14+ because of its more mature themes.
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Parent Written byShivom Oza January 18, 2013

Les Misérables (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – That Little Bit Of Magic!

‘Les Misérables’ is a 2012 British musical film, adapted from the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, which in turn was based on Victor Hugo’s French novel, ‘Les Misérables’. What does cinema mean to you? Would you watch a musical (mind you there are no dialogues, just songs), which is 2 hours 37 minutes long, purely because you love films? Do you believe that cinema has the ability to make you a better person? Do you believe that films change lives, or to put it a bit more mildly, your day? ‘Les Misérables’ does that. This grand, elaborate lyrical presentation strikes a chord, and how! Circa 1815, convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released on parole by prison guard Javert (Russell Crowe), after serving a nineteen-year sentence. However, Jean escapes the parole and lives a comfortable life elsewhere, using a different name. Nine years later, he is caught by Javert. This time, he escapes yet again, albeit along with a factory worker Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). The plot spans 17 years and is set against a backdrop of political turmoil, which in the film culminates in the June Rebellion of France. Claude-Michel Schönberg’s soundtrack, comprising 30-odd songs, is ‘enchanting’. Be it the introductory hard-hitting number ‘Look Down’ (Chain Gang, Javert and Valjean) or the ethereal rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ (Fantine), the magical ‘A Heart Full of Love’ (Marius, Cosette and Éponine) or the heart-numbing ‘Javert’s Suicide’ (Javert), all the songs in the film are beyond brilliant. Even better than the music and lyrics are the performers; in Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne, the line-up is magnificent. Special mention for the hilarious track, featuring Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, who infuse this melancholic film with lighter moments. Watch out for this electric (and eccentric) duo in the film. Another noteworthy performance was by the gorgeous Samantha Barks, who plays Éponine. Her rendition of the tragic ‘On My Own’ is certain to make you watery-eyed. The music is just one of the terrific aspects of ‘Les Misérables’. What about the visuals? The magnificent sets, the beautiful camerawork (stupendous cinematography by Danny Cohen) and the spellbinding costumes take you to that country, to that era! The aerial shots are one of the best that you will ever witness on the big screen. Who needs gimmicks like 3D, 48 fps, when you can produce such marvellous visuals, without much ado? The music of the film may be transcendental, but the visuals are not much far-behind on the mystical front! The film has been divided into four segments. One includes Javert’s own story, second is about Fantine’s tragic circumstances, third deals with the conniving innkeeper couple, Thénardier and Madame Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter steal the show, quite literally!) and the fourth is the love-triangle between Marius, Cosette and Éponine. Towards, the end, the segments take place in the backdrop of the French Rebellion. So, after all the romance and the tragedy, the latter half of the film manages to encapsulate patriotic fervour as well! The cast/performers of the film have done a brilliant job of singing and emoting at the same time. Moreover, all the songs have been performed live on-set, so you may as well lavish more praise on their efforts. Tom Hooper, who already has an Academy award for Best Direction (‘The King’s Speech’), has come up with another Oscar-worthy effort! Actually, won’t matter even if he doesn’t take the trophies back home! This film is an achievement in itself. Tom Cruise had said this at an award function once, something on the lines of ‘what is cinema? That little bit of magic!’ ‘Les Misérables’ is that, and more. Shivom Oza
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Parent Written byarete1000 December 26, 2012

Skip it, Read the book.

We went to see this movie based on the fact that Hugo's novel reflects deep positive values; this movie did not. My 22 year old daughter elected for us to walk out of the movie due to the debauchery, the graphic sex, and the distortion of Hugo's novel. As she said "Hugo is doing double back flips in his grave".
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
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Adult Written byJEDI micah March 24, 2013

I didn't really get it.

I didn't really see what the big deal was about this movie. The music is awesome, but their was way too much singing and the stories threw me off. This is more of a movie for girls and women. You guys out there who have wives or girlfriends that love this movie, I feel bad for you!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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