What Did You Think?

You Saw 'Les Miserables' Now Give Us Your Review

It's off to a big start at the box-office, what did you think of it?

Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Photo: Universal Pictures

The Movie: Les Miserables (2012)

Studio: Universal Pictures

Director: Tom Hooper

Starring: Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier, Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thénardier, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras and Samantha Barks as Éponine

Screenwriters: William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer based on the original stage musical from the novel by Victor Hugo

RottenTomatoes: 73% MetaCritic: 64/100

Snippet from My Review: (read my full review here)

Hooper's handling of such a massive story is a mixed bag of tightly woven storytelling in the first half to dry, dull and tiring in the second. Perhaps that's just the nature of the story, but everything about the introduction of Marius and all that leads up to the rebellion felt clunky and ill-conceived and none of it believable... I could watch the first hour of this film over again, but once Cosette grows up, Les Mis grows old.

Starter Questions

Here are a few questions I'm interested in outside of just your general opinion of the film and what you thought of it that may help conversation.

1.) Most everyone I've talked to agrees with me that the film loses all its steam after Anne Hathaway sings "I Dreamed a Dream". Do you agree? Why or why not?

2.) This was my first time seeing any adaptation of Les Mis. How about you? If you've seen it before, how does it compare to previous adaptations?

3.) What was your opinion of the singing? I've heard both sides of the conversation, particularly concerning Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne.


Now share your thoughts on the film in the comments below and feel free to include spoilers.

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  • Alex

    I personally loved the movie. The only other adaptation I've seen is the '98 movie that stars Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush. I saw that one years ago and don't remember much of it. I thought the singing was great. I don't think Russel Crowe was as bad as people say he is.

    • Di

      this film is awsome me and a friend went to see it and it was incredable moving we loved it and cannot wait for it co come out on blu ray .
      The singing was amazing Ann hathaway was incredable and so was russel crowe and hugh jackman worth going to see.every1 i know who has seen this film loved it .highley recommed you go see it .

    • Martin

      My review of Les Miserabled
      I find it very sad that the producers find it nessasary to bank roll a film such as Les Mis buy using Hollywood actors and actresses and so called stars that just can,t cut the mustard vocaly. This movie was destined to sell who ever was cast as it has been long awaited
      Hugh Jackman, whilst giving and outstanding acting proformance is less than impressive vocaly,Russell crow again looks the part but is unable to sing to the standard nessasary for this type of musical
      Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter gave a poor rendition of Master of the house lacking in panash which was very surprising
      Eddie Redmayne was the surprise package vocals were impressive as was the acting Brilliant, the other notable was the young man who played gavrosh in my opinion showed the Hollywod stars how it,s done Daniel Huttlestoney was so damm good one can see why he as played this part in the West End.
      Finaly Anne Hathaway gave a strong performance and maybe will recieve an Osca for having her hair cut off.
      To finish I guess what i am saying is that you could have picked any of the actresses and actors who have played the parts in Broadway or West End and made a far better film which would have been a work of art that would stand the test of time just like our beloved show but sadly this missed the mark by a county mile, come on you producers show some balls and make some unknowns into the stars of the future .
      Why use actors that can,t sing this is unfair to them and to the public who expect vocals of dynamic abilities not mediocrate
      in conclusion very dissapointed
      I am sure this wil upset some but any di hard musical fan would be hard pressed to think this film did justice to anything resembling Les Miserables

  • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

    Two and a half words. It's miserable.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rach/ Rach

    1. The "I dreamed a Dream" performance had been so overhyped for me, that I ended up not enjoying it at all. What I thought was the real "steam" issue of the movie was that it had all these great moments -master of the house, red and black, one day more-that were then connected to boring scenes of singing dialogue that were almost unbearable within the films enormous three hour run time.
    2. the singing got very tiring after a while. I thought all of the voices were good, but some actors sold the world where evrythin is sung better than others. I never thought Russel Crowe believed he should be singing his lines. I thought Eddie Redmayne almost overbelieved every line that came out of his mouth which made him over earnest. As for Amanda Seyfried, she is kind of just there, with no real lifting to do and she was fine at that.
    Overall I thought the film had some excellent moments, but there was a solid hour and a half that could have been cut out. My favorite parts were anything with Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. Without their comic relief I may have left the theater. This film was definetely overmarketed and I wish I could have avoided hearing I dreamed a dream and castle in the cloud before every youtube video i watched over the last couple of weeks.

    • https://www.facebook.com/ismal.ishak ancalime

      I agree completely with Rach's opinion. Probably my expextation was so high on Hathaway's performance that watching her, made me feel just okay. But instead, I was so impressed with Samantha Barks rendition of On My Own. It was heartfelt, I almost cried in the cinema.

      And singing every line is very tiring especially when Jackman was singing Redmayne's letter. my whole cinema had the tiresome laugh. Like come on... you can always have a sing-over by Marius for that letter, right? (should u really want to sing the letter)

  • Matt

    Just as with "Django", I'll leave most of my review for Sunday but have no problem admitting I loved the film. The story has problems, sure, but the film was extremely powerful and wonderfully acted. Just as with the play, the biggest problem with the film for me was buying the Marius/ Cossette romance but, while not exactly believable, the positive aspects of the movie more than made up for it.

    1.) I disagree on this point. While "I Dreamed a Dream" is certainly the strongest moment in the film, and it's a shame that it comes so early in the movie, the rest of the film was just as entertaining for me. In fact, I found the early moments in the film (essentially, everything leading up to Anne Hatahway's introduction) to be amongst the weakest moments in the film. After "I Dreamed a Dream", I found myself captivated by "Master of the House", "Stars", almost everything involving the revolution and, especially, "On My Own." None of it ever matches up to the sheer power of "I Dreamed a Dream", but it comes close.

    2.) I grew up listening to the soundtrack of Les Miserables as it is my mom's favorite musical. She's seen it six times on Broadway, and brought my brother and I right before it closed, when I was 9 or 10, so I don't remember it all too well. I have seen the 10th and 25th anniversary (on DVD), however, and enjoy this film a bit more than those. Maybe it's just because I don't really remember seeing the musical being acted out in front of me, but there's no denying I'd rather re-watch this movie over either anniversary.

    3.) I loved all the singing. Hathaway nailed her songs, and other than that Jackman, Redmayne and Barks had the best voices, in my opinion. I don't get most of the hate going towards Russell Crowe, I thought he gave a strong performance, but whatever. The only performance I wasn't crazy about was Amanda Seyfried, but, in her defense, I'm just not a fan of most of her songs and she doesn't have much to do.

    I guess it's also worth noting that I typically hate movie musicals. I've seen many (I grew up in a very Broadway-centric home) and have only enjoyed three before Les Mis- "Chicago" (which remains my favorite), "Hairspray" and "Moulin Rouge!"

  • Frank

    1. I agree the movie does lose its steam after the "I Dreamed a Dream" song. I just couldn't buy the whole Cosette/Marius love at first fight romance subplot that became the main story in the second half of the movie. Jean seemed to become a background character til the last 30 mintues.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Sorkinfan/ Sorkinfan

    I went in very nervous about the film version--based in part off Brad's review--given my long-time love of the stage version/book. and I was very pleasantly suprised. It isn't great, as films this year go, but, for me, it is a very solid and enjoyable film. I concur that Russel Crowe's performance is distinctly odd, but I felt that all of the other actors were incredibly strong. Of course, Anne Hathaway is the one getting all the acclaim, but I thought that Aaron Tevait and Eddie Redmayne were the stand-outs. Especially Redmayne who managed to make a character I have always been bored by, and make him my favorite character in the entire movie. His performance constantly found new notes in the character and managed to make him more than just a simple love interest. It is interesting to see that those in the cast who were stage actors--Tevait, Jackman, Barks, Hathaway, and Redmayne--did so much better than those who were not stage actors--Crowe, Carter, Seyfried, Cohen. I did find it interesting that Jackman who, by the end, is supposed to be dying of old age, does not look a day over 40 and seems like he's about to go run a damn marathon. All in all, a good movie, but not as good as Silver Linings Playbook or Perks of Being a Wallflower--my top two for the year.

    • MajorFilmFan

      I agree with the issue that Jackman is supposedly dying of old age, but doesn't look that old at all. After the movie, I was like 'OK, so how old is he supposed to be? So, this movie takes place over the course of about 20 years. Jean Valjean spent 19 years in prison, so we can figure he was about 25 or 30 when he went to prison, so he'd be about 50 when he got out and 70 by the end of the movie. There is NO WAY Hugh Jackman is old enough to play this role'

  • http://thesketchydetails.net/archives/8810 Robert

    1) The movie loses its steam in the opening numbers, where no two prisoners sing their grumbling solo at the same tempo and it takes Hugh Jackman two minutes to lift up a flag in close-up.

    2) If they licensed this version of the script as the definitive version of the show, it would be a flawless musical. Shame about the total lack of music direction and Hollywood actors with no sense of rhythm or phrases ruining the lovely score.

    3) Crowe's voice fit the part. It's a rock/pop musical and he's the villain. Seyfried did the best she could considering she's not a super-trained lyric soprano as the role calls for. Redmayne sounded magnificent, but had nothing to work with; Marius is a thankless role. He plays second fiddle to the real leader of the revolution and only gets to sing about how much he loves a girl he never spoke to.

    • MajorFilmFan

      Redmayne was absolutely STUNNING, as was Samantha Barks

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    Personally, I loved it and I'm little shocked that many people are mixed towards it. I didn't think it would be nearly this divisive.

    1. I disagree with this to an extent. While I don't think it loses steam, it does have some pacing issues which is my only problem with the film. It is a little long and you definitely feel the length so I can see why people got tired by the end of the film. The "I Dreamed a Dream" number is fantastic and certainly the high point of the film. But I felt there were other moments that were pretty good as well. "On My Own", "Bring Him Home", "Javert's Suicide", "Valjean's Death" and the closing number were all handled very well.

    2. I've seen the musical and the movie based on the novel, with Geoffrey Rush and Liam Neeson, but that's about it. I haven't read the novel so I don't how it would compare. I thought the movie stayed true to the musical and Tom Hooper did a great job of adapting it to the big screen. I will say that if you already love Les Miserables then you will enjoy the film more because you know whats coming.

    3. I thought the singing was great and I'm surprised that Russell Crowe is getting criticized for it. For me, he was a big surprise. I was initially nervous about because I never thought that he could sing, but I thought he played the role very well. I really enjoyed his singing and thought he held up very well on his own, especially in "Javert's Suicide". Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne were fine but Jackman, Crowe and Hathaway were the best ones for me.

    Overall, I really liked it and hope that more people go see it. Preferably on the big screen which is a question that I have for others who saw it: How did the whole spectacle of Les Mis play into your enjoyment of it and do you think it will hold up as well on the small screen?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AndrewJ.S./ Andrew J.S.

    I'll copy and past my review below but first my responses to the questions:

    1) I agree the narrative looses steam midway, although I would say after "Suddenly" and not "I Dreamed A Dream." The relationship between Jean Valjean and Javier is steady all the way through, but I did not buy the love triangle subplot, although Barks was fantastic.
    2)This was my first experience with anything involving Les Mis. As I state in my review below, while this particular version might not be perfect, it did get me interested in exploring the material more.
    3) I enjoyed the singing. Hathaway, Berks, and Crowe's solo music numbers were particularly memorable for me.

    My review:

    For those like me who have never read Victor Hugo’s 5 volume epic novel, seen the world-renowned musical, or any one of the many screen adaptations, Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables will be the first experience with the powerful and moving tale, as well as the tremendous music from Claude-Michel Schönberg. Having now seen Hooper’s musical adaptation, I understand full well why the musical is one of the most successful ever.
    I’ve herd bits and pieces of the soundtrack here and there, but listening to it non-stop for 2 and a half hours is the only way to understand how brilliant it is. It’s an epic score that’s riveting and heartfelt at the same time, almost telling the story of Jean Valjean on it’s own. And everyone involved in the film is up for the task of delivering it to new audiences, as well as those already fans.
    The cast is stellar. Anne Hathaway has been getting the most attention – and by no means does she not deserve it; I can’t imagine anyone else winning the Oscar this year – but lesser known Samantha Barks certainly deserves recognition. Both actresses perform solo numbers that on their own earn each actress an Oscar nom as far as I’m concerned. Both performances should make an subtle easy connection with audience members, and Hooper wisely doesn’t get gimmicky with musical numbers, instead shooting simple close ups and letting the performers do the work. Russell Crowe also gives a surprising turn, one of the best male supporting performances of the year. Sacha Coen and Helena Bonham-Carter, playing their typical caricatures, fit perfectly in their roles.
    Playing the lead, Hugh Jackman didn’t blow my mind, but he certainly fit the part fine. There were times though, when I wondered weather Jackman was truly the best choice, and maybe his involvement with the project has more to do with a need for a big star in the lead. Specifically, it’s Jackman’s solo musical numbers that lack the punch his co-stars give. However, Jackman is nonetheless solid and undoubtedly committed to the role, and doesn’t affect the experience in any negative way.
    Where I found Les Mis lacking was in emotional connections between characters. While a clear connection is easily established between each character individually and the audience, the relationships among some of the characters themselves aren’t as moving. Specifically, the love triangle involving Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, and Samantha Barks’ character, a major element to the story, isn’t fully developed, and that slows down the second act narrative quite a bit.
    I guess logically I can’t really say this, since this is the only form of the story I’ve ever watched/read, but I can only assume this adaptation only offers a glimpse of the brilliance of Les Misérables. That said, it is a worthwhile glimpse, one that I believe will please audiences familiar with the material a not familiar. Even with its flaws, it didn’t leave me unmoved, and I’m excited to dive deeper into the tale. I look forward to taking a shot at reading the novel, exploring the other film adaptations, and who knows, maybe seeing the musical on stage.

    • jessied44

      For someone who has never had any exposure to the book or original musical, I always recommend (1) Buy a condensed version of the book and (2) Listen to the BBC 21st anniversary recording that includes a narrative between the songs. Start on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9frtDi96ws

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

    I've been wanting to share my thoughts on this one. .

    My opinions seem to be backwards of everyone else's. I have a couple theories on why that might be, but I'll save them for later. I'll deal with the questions first.

    1) I'm in the very small percentile that actually thinks the film may have picked up steam after Hathaway's exit. Don't get me wrong, her performance is absolutely brilliant, but I found most of Hooper's blunders with the awkward camera movements and angles come in the first few scenes. Jackman's monologue comes to mind as he paces back and forth trying awkwardly not to make eye contact with the camera which seems to be positioned inches from his face. For the most part the second half doesn't have those moments (I stress "most part" because they were my main issue with the direction).
    I think that my preference of the second half might have something to do with critics. I'd heard nothing of how poorly done it was and how the film loses its legs after Hathaway, that I may have put up an emotional barrier going in, which hampered my ability to enjoy the first half. Once I realized I had been won over i started being sucked into the film.

    2) Seen the play and was familiar with the story, but I will admit, I've never seen a musical done on film that I really enjoyed until this one.

    3) In terms of singing I thought it was fine. The whole 'live singing' thing was brilliant I thought, and in the end I wasn't really concerned with whether the actors voices were on tune. Russell Crowe was actually quite a decent singer. In fact, I think he was more fit to sing his part than Jackman. Don't get me wrong, Jackman gave a solid performance, but I'm not sure he had the vocal chords for the role (although as previously stated, this didn't much affect my enjoyment). However, I will say "Bring Him Home" (which as I understand it is supposed to be one of the emotional highs of the story) fell flat both vocally and emotionally. I think Jackman dropped the ball on that scene and it could cost him an Oscar nomination.

    The last thing I want to touch on is a theory I had. I have to say Les Mis was one of the best theatre experiences I have had in the past few years. I can't remember a film where people sitting around me were so visibly emotionally shaken and invested in the story. It's such a big, grand story with an absolutely over the top production by Hooper, that I think this one may be made for theatres. After exiting the theatre, I wondered to myself whether I would have felt so fondly about it had I seen it alone in my basement. I think most of it may have seemed rather ridiculous, and this may be where the critic/audience divide may be.

    In summary, I thought Les Mis was quite a good movie, and definitely one that is interesting to think about. I'm having a tough time deciding whether it was "great" or not, but I think it has a place among the best of the year (in my opinion of course, obviously most other people disagree)

  • Jack

    You need to see the play to fully understand and appreciate the movie.

    Note that about twenty minutes of singing from the musical was was never put in the movie due to pacing.
    They needed to adapt it this way. If they were to compromise and further shorten the movie and lose other main songs, it would have been an abomination in the eyes of the fans of the musical.
    Also note that the last time they tried to adapt Les Miserables with less music, it was the Liam Neeson version which was horrendous.

    Believe me, I firmly believe that a movie must stand alone, and I really think that Les Miserables does stand alone. But one must also keep in mind "brand." It would be like criticizing The Return of the King because one didn't understand it because they didn't see the first two films in the Lord of the Rings saga.

  • Travis

    A full review would take too long, but I'll just say I loved the film, favorite of the year, and is one of few films to ever give me chills, let alone how many times it did for me. As for your questions,
    1. No, I don't think the film lost steam after Hathaway. She was phenomenal, but she never held me to the point the rest of the film was a letdown.
    2. Here's where bias comes in. Yes, I've read the book and seen the 98 movie. However, Les Mis is also my favorite musical of all time. I know every word, have seen it twice, and own two or 3 CD copies, and have followed this film since Cameron Mackintosh announced it in 2010. This is still a masterful production, and Hugh can hold his own in an arena of Valjeans, as can Redmayne in Mariuses. Hathaway is the best Fantine, and Barks fights for best Eponine. Also, my dream version of Les Mis had Hooper directing (shortly after King's Speech), Jackman as my Valjean, and both of my Thenardiers got in. So overall, I love it.
    3. I thought all of their singing was fine. Crowe did fine for what he is, but he wasn't fantastic. I'm shocked people didn't like Redmayne-all I've heard are positives, I've only seen positive reviews of him, and I hear there is Oscar buzz for him (or was before he got no preemptive award noms). Seyfried...well, she stood there and looked pretty, which is all the role calls for, you can't fault her for that, lame the script. Her first two songs were good, her middle two were weak, and she was a knockout in the Epilogue.

    Spoiler Alert-everyone dies

    • Travis

      Also, my brother mentioned Laremy after the movie, and I decided to do my impression of Laremy doing Shalit, which involves "They should have called it 'Less Miserable,' because I loved it!"

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    How convenient, as i just wrote my review today for the "What I Watched, What You Watched" discussion on Sunday. (I will post my review there as well)

    1. In a way, i felt that the peak of the film was "I Dreamed a Dream." Everything seemed to be building to that. It did lose steam after, but was quickly picked up by "Master of the House," which i found to be particularly rousing. But after that, it completely lost it. Everything went down from there

    2. I have seen the 1998 version which i very much liked. I definitely liked that adaptation better than this one. I have also read the book, and consider it one of my favorites. i have never seen any form of the musical however, so parts of the film disappointed me.

    3. I enjoyed most of the singing. I liked Amanda Seyfried's singing. I didn't mind Russel Crowe, but i did find his singing the worst of the lot. As for Eddie Redmayne, i never really thought much, because most of his singing was not necessarily bad, but it was forgettable.

    My Review
    I've always liked the story of Les Miserables. It's a great story of redemption and grace, and will always be viewed as a classic. However, this film and the musical it is adapted from make several faults, that diminish the greatness of this film. Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a prisoner who was imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. he is put on parole by Inspector Javert, played by Russel Crowe. Valjean eventually breaks parole and puts on the false name of Monsieur la Mayor, and runs a successful factory business Here, we are introduced to Anne Hathaway, who plays Fontaine. She, after being fired from the factory sells her hair and turns unwillingly to prostitution. Valjean sees her despair which she conveys in the phenomenal song sequence that is "I Dreamed a Dream." unforunately, this is the movie's peak, and its 60 minutes into the movie. Valjean then promises to take care of her child, Cosette, when Fontaine grows ill. The last good sequence in the movie is "Master of the House," performed by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, who are perfect for their roles. The movie then jumps forward in time, where Cosette is around 20 and a revolution is brewing the the streets of France. This is where the film begins to grow tiresome. Now the film shifts much of its focus from Jean Valjean to Cosette's love life. We are led to believe that Cosette and a young revolutionary named Marius fall in love by just glancing at each other, across a street. They then sing to each other and that's the only time they really come face to face. This subplot occupies around 50 of the last 60 minutes of the film, and it just seems boring. Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne (who play Cosette and Marius respectively) sing great, but the emotion and acting isn't there. The last part also includes a battle scene that should have been exciting, but felt drawn out and tiresome. The last few minutes however refocus on Valjean and Javert, which builds to a great finale scene. Another con for this film is the camera work. the camera bobs and weaves and seems to only focus on close up of peoples faces. Rarely are two characters seen talking to each other, rather the angle switches from face to face in a conversation. The camera also jumps and cuts frantically, so at times it is hard to tell whats going on. However, all of the singing is great (aside from Russel Crowe, who is passable). The acting from Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway is top notch and they're sure to nab nominations for best actor and best supporting actress respectively, come Oscar time. The art direction is good, but the camera moves so fast that its hard to notice much. The Story of the redemption of Jean Valjean is great, as is the first hour of the film, with Anne Hathaway and "I Dreamed a Dream" being the peak of the movie. Unfortunately the movie spirals downward from there that is only hurt by jarring camera angles, that is only helped a small bit by the great final scene.
    The story of redemption is great, but the story of love is poor.

  • FUTURE SPIELBERG

    I enjoyed it, but it felt very overstuffed. It needed to be edited down a little bit more and at 2hrs and 40min I felt exhausted by the end of it all. You should never necessarily feel exhausted after a movie. That usually mean's that the film wasn't very good. In this case, I understood where Tom Hooper was trying to go with the movie. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway have Oscar Noms written all over them. Between the music, the art direction, the costume design, and the entire spectacle put together, I thought it was pretty breathtaking. When Anne Hathaway sang I dreamed a dream, the entire audience was silent and was in awe. I don't think the producers should've marketing this film around Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hathaway because they are only in there for 45 minutes each. They should've focused more on Jackman, Redmayne, and Russell, who all gave excellent performances. I thought it was a good movie and will definetly get several Oscar Noms including Best Picture. On that note, I don't believe it will win Best Picture. I have yet to see Lincoln, The Hobbit, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, and The Silver Linings Playbook. I will have to wait until I finish seeing those, but for now I still believe that Argo is still in the lead for Best Picture.

  • http://RopeofSilicon George G. King

    I have seen the theater productions of Les Miz in New York, London, and Salt Lake City, as well as a local high school production just last month. I have also read the entire novel in French. Les Miz, I thought I knew you well. I was anxious and eager to see for myself this big screen version so I went today at 2:45 p.m. thinking I'd be certain to get good seats only to learn that it is sold out except for the front row for all showings this weekend. Consequently I saw this sweeping wide-screen movie from front row center which is more like living in it and being pounded by its incessant action and certainly being over blown by the depth of the story and the profound emotion that sweeps over you time after time. This is quite arguably the best movie ever made and certainly one of the best movies I have ever seen in my 67 years of movie-going. Scene after scene brought me and those around me to reverent tears. The raw cruelty of the beginning scenes wherein the harsh hatred within Jean-Val jean is portrayed so vividly sets the tone perfectly for the redemptive goodness of the Holy Father who gives the violent convict the candlesticks, blows him over, and redeems his soul. The depth of emotion of scene after scene, the vivid drama and clear portrayal of the characters who live in our hearts, is brought home time after time by memorable music. These songs also live in our hearts and sing in our souls. Yes, Hugo is a master of melodrama, but, and this production makes me realize it more than ever, he is also a prophet of goodness, redemption and hope. More than once, this drama evokes the catharsis which Aristotle says is the highest virtue of great drama. You must see this movie for yourself, with an open mind and an open heart to appreciate the eternal qualities of Hugo's work. Never have I understood so clearly the futile and heroic battle of the barricades, never have I seen and felt the depth of despair of Jean-Val jean struggling to survive in the slime of the sewer, never have I seen the redemptive love of Fantine as she escorts her beloved into eternity informing him "to love another person is to see the face of God. Les Mis must be seen to be appreciated. It must be seen and felt with an open mind and with open hearts. It deserves the best of us because it makes strong emotional and effective appeals to all that is good and best in us. Bravo!

  • Beth Coffey

    As someone who has seen the musical six times and pretty much owns every album, I know this musical very well. The pacing I think has its issues because it lurches forward into the next scene because transitional music or scenes are missing. They aren't vital to the story but just pace it better, if longer. I am the opposite of many the first quarter of the movie seems to layout the groundwork for what is going to be the heart of the story. As much as I liked the new song Suddenly I think they could have traded that time for more time at the barricades.
    I have not seen any other film version but I did read the brick and was glad they played homage to some of the original story in the book such as the inclusion of Marius' uncle.

    I loved it and will see it again,but I know its for certain tastes.

  • Jarrod

    AS SAYS:

    It's no Django. Also, Zero Dark Thirty is the most irresponsible and reprehensible film (that I have never seen) because ... Green Zone is under-appreciated. If anyone disagrees with me, I will post 40 comments on this thread alone.

    • Travis

      Don't provoke him! And besides, He wasn't blown away by Django, so don't pour salt in the wound

    • Central Ohio

      I disagree with you

    • Jake17

      There's no reason to be so rude.... He didn't love Django, and even though I disagree with him on ZDT, I'm not gonna complain about his opinion.

  • http://hauntedbyhumans.wordpress.com J.R.Meehl

    Loved it

  • Edd

    Loved it! Thought it was amazing, it's not perfect but certainly better than Chicago. If Chicago can win best picture, Les Miz can certainly win it for sure! There was no boring moment in the film, Hugh Jackman (Best Actor) and Anne Hathaway (Best Supporting Actress) can surely win their categories. Anne Hathaway will the landslide winner for the Best Supporting Actress, I was captured by her emotional rendition of I Dream A Dream! By far, the most emotional performance that I've seen from an actress! The movie captured the highlights of the play. I stand by with my early prediction, it will be Argo vs. Les Miz at the end!

  • Greg

    Went Christmas Day to see Les Mis. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I have seen the stage production 2 times and have read the book numerous times. This movie is a masterpiece. I rank this movie in my top 3 of all time with The Shawshank Redemption and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Words can not explain how great of a movie this is. The 1 flaw would be Russell Crowe. I thought he was very miscast for the role of Javert.

  • Bill G

    Some critics complained the film was "too too." But think about the story and listen to the score of the show. How else could Tom Hooper have directed and visualized this movie? It's as sweeping as a plot can be and the musical score is as vast and varied as one can be. If it was "bombastic" as some have claimed, the director had no choice. Hooper managed to be faithful to the Broadway version and yet used the medium of cinema to create his own vision at the same time.

    It was perfectly cast. Only criticism was the Russell Crowe might have underplayed it just a bit. Javert's religious fanaticism required a bit more emotion. As for his singing, he actually surprised me. This wasn't a problem at all.

    As for Oscars, Anne Hathaway should nab one. But as for best film: Life of Pi.

  • DavidG

    I must say that, while certainly not a perfect movie, I really did enjoy it. I would give it a solid B. Anne Hathaway is definitely the highlight for me, but I do not feel that it lagged after that. I have read the novel and seen the musical. It does a great job of adding information from the book that was not in the musical into the movie in a way that enriches the storyline and makes it more understandable. I thought the performances were great. I enjoyed Russell Crowe's voice, though it does seem a bit out of place for a musical. Few actors can act as well through song as Hugh Jackman. I thought the added imagery was brilliantly done and the camera-work, while a bit repetitive, made the characters more intimately known. My favorite adaptation of Les Miserables so far, and by far one of the best musical adaptations in recent memory.

  • http://www.themoviefreakblog.com Alexander Diminiano

    Oh I loved this movie. So much. Not at all sure why it's been getting so much negativity. My review will be up on 1/4 at my blog ( http://wp.me/1Urcx ).

  • jessied44

    What you will see in Les Miserables is a master class in acting conducted by Hugh Jackman. Your brain is saying, “I know that actor”, but you are seeing Jean Val Jean. There are no wheels turning, no dramatic tricks being played, there is just a man who happens to look a bit like an actor you know. There is no obvious “method”. There is just “being”. This is the acting craft at its highest level where there is no craft just “genius at work”. As his co-star Anne Hathaway says, “We all know he’s a miracle. And we all know that he can get up and make friends with everyone, and sometimes I think that keeps people from seeing his genius as an actor. So, I just don’t want his nice guy thing to distract you from the fact that he is deep, serious and profoundly gifted actor.”

  • m1

    1. The "I Dreamed a Dream" segment was massively hyped, and it lives up to the hype. It broke my heart and Hathaway has a huge shot at winning the Oscar. No, the movie does not lose steam because we still get to see more of Jackman's amazing performance and the fantastic battle scenes.

    2. I haven't seen any other adaptation, but I have read the book and the movie's changes to it work for the most part.

    3. Not a bad singing voice from the cast. Crowe worried me from the clips, but his voice is really amazing in the lower registers and he did a fantastic job. Seyfried's voice is too high pitched at times, but like Crowe, she got better as the movie continued. Redmayne's voice is probably the best of any of the actors.

    I didn't have many flaws in the movie as people said. Hooper's directing style is different from that of The King's Speech; it's much more "in your face." The "heaven" sequence at the end was a bit much, but this movie hits the right emotional chords. The movie deserves better reviews than it's been getting.

  • Brett McNeill

    *I would like to say that I haven't seen the musical before, or read the book, or even knew what the film was about before I saw it.

    The problem for me with the film is that it was so poorly directed. The are so may close up that the film looks like it's zoomed in. The use of tilted framing is actually ridiculous. The close ups might be accounted for by Hooper's decision to film the actors singing live. However, if you're going to get any movement on them and just have them sing like a diva at a concert then what's the point?

    My second problem was with Jackman's performance. Seeing as how most (almost all) of the movie is sung, there is obviously parts in which characters have conversations while singing. This lends itself more to acting than actually singing because these are the points where emotion needs to actually come through instead of just relying on the music. Jackman didn't do this very well. Most of the time he was conversing he sounded as if he were simply singing unpassionately. It's funny because Crowe is being criticizes for not being able to sing (and it's true he isn't as good as the rest of the cast) however, when he sings he is clearly feeling it and it comes across as authentic, and I completely believed him as Javert.

    On the whole though I enjoyed it, mostly because of the music and the performances (Banks, Cohen, Carter, Crowe and obviously Hathaway were all excellent) But it isn't the masterpiece (or the very entertaining movie) I thought I was in for

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Cally27/ Cally27

    I saw it this morning. The 1st show of the day was well attended. The audience sat quiet for this multiplex audience in a lengthy, non- action packed film. (No trips out, no noise.) And at the end (to my surprise) they applauded. (That's quite rare in this neighborhood.) So it seemed to be a crowd pleaser.
    I felt I saw confirmation of the positive & negative comments I've read. Pre -release, I'd been excited about all the early released scenes & expected to like the film better than the play I saw on Bway. I don't think I did -for many reasons. That said, I think the cast did a fine job. And I think the film possibly comes closer to the spirit of the novel than even the play does. If anyone is a lover of Les Mis and has not read Victor Hugo's great work - please do so.

    I felt this film in a totally different category than the '98 version with Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush as Javert & Uma Thurman. It was just on TV again a yr or so ago. If you missed it in the cinema. It seemed to have no pretensions to being taken as seriously artistically as I'm prepared to take this version. Finally, a word in Russell's behalf. His Javert is the 1st time I've felt some real understanding of what makes that character tick....And that includes reading Hugo for me. So I'm very grateful to Russell. He may not win any awards, but for me his perfomance was one of the more interesting in the film. Hugh's stamina was amazing.

  • http://geraldalch.blogspot.com Gerald Alch

    Every opinion of a movie is necessarily subjective. Having thus proclaimed my "disclosure", I confess that I have never been a fan of opera. Mea Culpa. Accordingly, this movie was a filmed opera. While acknowledging the merits of Hathaway et al, I was grinding my nails into my palm. To materialize my angst, I sang every one of my sentences for the next 24 hours.

  • Jahlee Arakaki

    I fell in love with Les Miz and the soundtrack on Broadway in '87 and in San Francisco in '91. This movie moved me as emotionally as it did the first time I saw it, and it's the only adaptation I've seen. I personally feel the immediacy of the singing with the acting on-screen (as a first in movie musicals) is what kept me so emotionally involved with it from beginning to end. I don't think it lost any steam after Anne Hatheway's beautifully sad and anguished "I Dreamed A Dream." To me, she was so wonderfully honest and emotive (I predict she gets a Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). The letdown just might be that nothing after is quite as intense as the force of the words so perfectly sung by her, and could it be that it was the longest song in the movie? Amanda Seyfried is beautifully sweet to look at, and to show her youth I suppose the voice works best if it is high and clear, however, it didn't sound natural enough--a bit too forced which was to me, the only jarring note to this movie (just sung one key lower would've made a difference, I think). I even liked Russell Crowe's voice--it was rich and you could hear every word he sang; and Hugh Jackman was so perfectly cast as 24601. Really, I loved it all--but didn't bring enough kleenex.

  • cinejab

    1. This movie didn't lose all of it's steam after "I Dreamed a Dream," it chugged along okay until really picking up with Eponine's storyline. Once she died though, it draaaaaaaagged man.
    2. I'm a theater geek, but I had never seen this musical on stage. I've seen part of the 98 adaptation, but all I remember of that is Uma Thurman overacting.
    3. I am boggled that Russell Crowe made it through an audition process for this role that involved singing. Also, did his facial expression changed more than once in this film? Eddie Redmayne was great, especially when you consider how average he was in My Week With Marilyn.

    Other thought: Anne Hathaway has supporting actress locked up, but I wish their was some room for Samantha Barks to sneak into the conversation as well. Her turn as Eponine is what invigorated the second and third acts of this film.

  • PJ

    The first act was a jumbled mess. The jump-cuts and editing were all over the place and completely ruined the pacing and sucked the emotion out of a lot of the music. I thought it was a little too self-indulgent. There was this fast-pace build-up to "I Dreamed A Dream," which was solid in its own right. Anne Hathaway does all she can with the song and the moment, but I think the editing and general chaos of the first act really took away from how effective this moment is. It was definitely over hyped, and I don't think it really lived up to it.

    The second and third acts I thought was better as songs were given their time to settle in and be absorbed by the audience. There was a great pace that enhanced a lot of the performances (Amanda Seyfried and Samantha Barks, especially). Essentially, I thought that there was a bit more consideration given to the breathing time of the music in the latter acts. Eddie Redmayne's Marius was an emotional highlight for me, as I think he inhabits the character much more so than the rest of the cast, and his voice was the most distinctive among the bunch.

    To say it is the greatest movie-musical of all time is an overstatement, but I think it was it's own wonderful adaptation. The most deterring aspect was the actual directing and cinematography. Musicals live in a wide-shot.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    Maybe this one is "on me", but I didn't care for this movie, at all. I can't honestly remember being more bored during any movie I've seen this year (including A Christmas Story 2 and A Thousand Words). The one redeeming quality is Anne Hathaway, who is truly fantastic and I hope wins an Oscar. That aside, this movie just goes to show that for me personally, there can be tremendous acting, detailed set design, beautiful cinematography, but if the story isn't intriguing, I'm not going to like it. The first part was bearable, pretty much all due to Hathaway, but once her role diminishes, I honestly couldn't have cared less for any of the characters. Scenes and songs are way too drawn out to keep my attention. Once again, perhaps this one is "on me" since this is my the only musical I can recall ever watching and having long drawn out songs / scenes is part of the deal with these types of movies. I can't give this movie a good score though, due to how little fun I had watching it. 3.5 / 10 or "F". The score would have been lower if it wasn't for Anne Hathaway.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TGH/ Thomas Hines

    I am putting my answer to the second question first so that Brad( he's the only one who reads my comments anyway) will know where I'm coming from.

    1) I saw the '98 version with Neeson and Therma and this blew that out of the water. Also I saw the old old version made in... the 50's or 70's? Since this was a musical I was comparing this to a stage musical that was filmed live back in the 80's or 90's ( I had six sisters so I ended up watching it a few times; don't judge). Overall this film out did it all. I wish it was shorter but seeing it is a musical lends it more laxity in how the movie could go.
    Part of my liking it could be related to the fact that the stage edition featured little more than really good singers dressed in costumes singing to the audience...kinda bland. This actually had great cinematography and some flintlocks being shot!

    1) I didn't think the story fizzed out after Hathaways song but actually got a little better. The whole idea of people singing their lines isn't ideal for me, but I thought that story expedited rather once Fonteine died.

    3.) My impression on the singing was positive at first then it got even better when my brother told me that all the singing we here is not voice overs but live recordings. I had to check up on it myself. http://screenrant.com/les-miserables-music-songs-featurette/

    Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway WERE excellent! The supporting cast weren't near as good, but again they were singing live, and a heck of a lot better than the average live pop singer. So props to them. Russell Crowe's singing was... acceptable. He doesn't have that strong of a voice, but it would not have been good if he was better than Jackman or whoever they could've used for Jean Valjean.

    All in all, the visual and audio scope of the film were beautiful and as long as it was, it did allow for character development that is unusual in movies that feel the need to be fast paced.

  • MajorFilmFan

    I absolutely LOVED Les Mis. This was honestly my first exposure to the play OR the book, so seeing something as grand as this just blew me out of the water. The music is gorgeous, all the performances, yes, even Crowe, as flawed as his singing voice is, is fantastic. But, especially Samantha Barks and Hugh Jackman. Those two steal the show. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen are also scene stealers. This movie made me fall IN LOVE with the musical.

  • adu

    A popular book, Broadway show, the director of The King’s Speech & with a cast that includes the likes of Hathaway, Jackman, and Crowe there was never any doubt that there was going to be a lot of buzz around this musical. People, make no mistake, this is a relentless musical; it barely gets a chance to catch its breath before another song commences. For those who do not know, this movie is dreary & a total downer..no holiday cheer to be found anywhere despite the season. Consider it information, not a warning.

    Hugh Jackman’s intense performance in the church and Hathaway’s heartbreaking rendition of ‘I dreamed a dream’ is extraordinary. Her performance is so brilliant, that it actually keeps the entire movie afloat the rest of the way; though it never reaches a high like that again. Hooper’s production design, music, and an array of emotions kept me hooked in the film throughout.

    The film does have pacing issues; there is a subplot that could have been shortened and would have led to a much more efficient product. I also found Crowe’s singing a bit distracting. But the good by far outweighed the bad for me and I consider it among the best that 2012 offered. Hathaway is my best supporting actress of the year and Hugh Jackman deserves a best picture nomination.

  • http://smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    What it all boils down to is a picture without a man at the reins. Hooper quite obviously had massive aspirations but I can't help but feel that they got away from him time and time again. If you're executing a strictly musical adaptation of a widely known piece go with actors who can kill it in the vocal department.

    Crowe and Jackman were quite obviously miscast as the leading men and largely lack the chill factor that makes these musicals actually work. Everything is cracked up to 11 but there is the no backbone tying everything together.

    Ultimately, Tom Hooper's experimental Les Misérables is a jigsaw of performances with no central momentum that is both exhaustive and exhausting.

    To read my full thoughts go to:
    http://filmfestivaltraveler.com/film-a-arts/50-reviews/2403-movie-review-qles-miserablesq-is-a-clunky-time-consumer
    or
    http://smartfilm.blogspot.com/2012/12/out-in-theaters-les-miserables-is.html

  • murph

    thought the close up shots were a bit too closeup...I do not enjoy seeing drippy noses when they were crying
    Crowe's acting was flat to me but I enjoyed his voice very much
    Amanda's voice was the weakest to me but still enjoyable

  • 3bears

    I am emotionally exhausted after seeing this movie. Maybe its because I saw it on the first day of the new year when redemption and hope are almost tangible. Tthankfully, I somehow had managed to avoid any previews or hype leaving me with no expectations either way. This truly was a religious experience. My audience clapped in the middle of the film after the "One More Day" montage. I have never experience that before (clapping, if it happens at all, strictly at the end). The tears started with the Priest's gift of the opportunity for redemption and I never quite dried out. Anne Hathaway was breathtaking in conveying the message of youthful hope being decimated by the blows of life's twists and turns. Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean's committment to honor the gift the priest gave him by doing the same for others - offering forgiveness, embracing the broken and downtrodden - remained steadfast yet humble right up until the closing credits. The accompanying theme of the post-revolution's quest for freedom and equality layered nicely over Valjean's conversion (although I would argue he probably was pure of heart all along to risk stealing a loaf of bread for someone else.)
    I couldn't help but feel a main yet unseen character in the movie was God. It seems all of the characters were were speaking to Him when they sang what was within their hearts. They appealed to him for strength, forgiveness, mercy, rightousnes, salvation etc...If you are a believer in a Higher Power this undercurrent has to move you.
    I also did not realize the movie was strictly a musical. I saw the play twenty five years ago and liked it very much but the film was far more powerful in its ability to show povert andy desperation through dramatic cinematography( think the opening ship hauling scene and close ups of scarred faces ( think mouths full of bad teeth.) Like a good opera, this musical made the emotions far more powerful than 2 hours of dialogue. I think we humans respond to music and song in an evisceral way that can't be quantified. It just gets 'in there' more easily than mere words.
    I could go on and on. It truly took my breath away and, for me, knocked 'Life is Beautiful' out of top slot for favorite movies of all time!
    Ps I thought the casting was superb although I do agree that Cosette lacked something that Imponene possessed. Screen presence? Russell Crowe made for a perfect Javier. He is suppossed to be emotionally sealed over as he hints at being raised in similiar circumstances yet the army was his way out and he never learned to incorporate empathy into his being, perhaps out of fear of returning to such .desperation. The closest he comes to this is when he chooses not to go after
    Jean Valjean.But this act so greatly confuses him as its so foreign to his belief in law and order - the very things that saved him from a life of poverty - that he chooses death rather than go on. I thought Crowe's gravelly voice was perfect for this complex man. A silky smooth set of pipes just would have been at odds with who he was.

  • Newbourne

    The movie cant lose steam if it didnt have any to begin with. Nothing stood out to me not even the overrated I Dreamed a Dream performance. Susan Boyle sings circles around Anne. I think Tom's biggest mistake was using Hollywood actors. For a film like this, he should have filled it up with capable Broadway voices.

    • Jarrod

      The film would not have been made with Broadway performers. No studio would have paid for that.

  • Lisa

    1) No, the movie didn't loose steam after Anne's "I dreamed a dream".... but the movie began and pushed through with such uncomfortably weak performances to begin with, that I'm still not sure that her performance was as stellar as the general opinion seems to leans towards.

    2.) I've seen the latest screen adaptation of the novel, as well as the stage musical. The Liam Neeson movie had better storyline flow, the stage musical has a better balance between the characters. This new version is very dramatic... sometimes painfully so, but I'm attributing that to the actors trying to emote while singing, while not having the ability to actually do so (Hathaway being the exception). Where the film excels (not surprisingly) is scenery and fight/action scenes. Neither the stage musical nor the Liam Neeson movie version can compare in that respect.

    3.) The singing over all was incredibly subpar by all the 'name' actors. I literally cringed and grimaced through 80% of Jackman's songs. Crowe's voice was surprisingly monochrome in tone for every song, but not half as painful to listen to as Jackman. Amanda Seyfried may be able to carry a tune, but her high range and machine-gun vibrato made me claw the armrest on the theater seats. Redmayne was the surprise for me because although his falsetto was somewhat annoying, his voice carried well with the supporting cast and most of the time I appreciated the acting that went along with it. Hathaway is an incredible actress. Her singing for the most part was good, and not distressing like Jackman and Crowe.
    I can't say I liked the movie, but I didn't completely dislike it either. I understand casting a blockbuster means you need blockbuster names, but the unbelievable mistake of having them sing live is ridiculous. This was a MUSICAL. What's the point of having incredible scenery and great dramatic performances when the only real way to enjoy them is to put the movie on mute.
    If it wasn't for the rest of the supporting ensemble (some of who could actually sing and act), I probably would have really disliked or even hated the movie. Cohen and Carter may not be singers, but they were funny and for the most part their scenes were enjoyable. The ensemble scenes with the men were really good, not overacted, and beautifully sung (thank god for real singers). The last 45 minutes of the film felt choppy and confusing, and some of the camera work distracted me from the storyline long enough that I started watching the time.
    I think If awards are given for this film, they will definitely not be for the direction or the either of the lead male characters.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    1. I don't agree because even though that is the best part of the film, I was still very interested in what was going on and I was still invested in the story after that scene.

    2. This was my first adaptation as well.

    3. I didn't mind any of the singing, the only person who really blew me away was Anne Hathaway though. She deserved that Best Supporting Actress win.

    Overall, I love Les Mis. Definitely in my top 5 of 2012. A+ for me.