Movie Review: Les Miserables


When I originally saw the trailer for Les Miserables, I got really excited. I loved the few songs I'd heard from Les Mis and had heard it was a good story. I finally watched the Liam Neeson version of Les Mis with my sister and really enjoyed it. Plus, I watched a bunch of clips from the movie on the official Les Miserables Film channel on YouTube. Going into the movie theatre, I had high expectations. I was also a bit nervous, because my parents said that in a Plugged In review, it said there were some inappropriate scenes. Also, I'd heard that the movie has a very minimal amount of talking. Most of it is singing, and instead of pre-recording the music and having the actors lip-sync, the actors in Les Mis are singing on the set (which could be a risky thing to do). Nonetheless, I had high expectations, and Les Miserables did not disappoint.

The main actors and actresses in Les Miserables are as follows...

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
Hugh Jackman did a GREAT job portraying Jean Valjean, a former slave who's turned from hate to love and bitterness to forgiveness. I can't think of anyone better to play Jean Valjean. His acting was great, as well as his singing.
Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Anne Hathaway has to be one of my favorites in Les Miserables. She plays Fantine, a woman who becomes a prostitute to support her child, Cosette, who is living with another family. You can feel her emotions - her sadness, pain, despair, hope (particularly when she's singing "I Dreamed a Dream"). Hathaway did a phenomenal job.

Russell Crowe as Javert

I'd have to say that Russell Crowe was my least favorite actor in this movie. He didn't do an awful job; I just think he could've had more emotions/expressions. I feel like Javert is supposed to be pretty scary/creepy, like someone you'd run away from, but he kind of seemed like a grumpy teddy bear. He wasn't terrible, though. In fact, in the song "Look Down," he was pretty mean!
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette
 Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette, Fantine's daughter. Seyfried was one of my lesser-favorite actresses in this movie. She did a good acting job, and her crying in one scene was very sad and believable, but sometimes when she sings her vibrato is somewhat overpowering. The bonds between Valjean and Cosette and Marius and Cosette are very sweet, however, although I'd liked to have seen more interaction between Valjean and Cosette when she was older, not just when she was a child.

Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy
Eddie Redmayne did GREAT playing Marius Pontmercy, a young man wanting to start a revolution. His singing and acting were both great, and his emotions in "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" were so real and believable.

Aaron Tveit as Enjolras
Enjolras, like Marius, is a young man who wants to start a revolution. I think this part was perfectly cast, and Aaron Tveit played Enjolras really well. His singing was also very impressive. Random fact: Aaron Tveit played Fiyero in a production of the Broadway show "Wicked"!
Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the Thenardiers
The Thenardiers (who take care of Cosette - and treat her cruelly - for a period of time) are just...weird. Although Carter and Cohen acted well, the Thenardiers were just really weird and crude, which was such a big contrast from the seriousness of the rest of the movie that it somewhat seemed like they were out of place in Les Miserables.
Samantha Barks as Eponine
Samantha Barks plays Eponine, the Thenardiers' daughter, who is in love with Marius. Eponine is one of my favorite characters, and I think Samantha Barks portrayed her extremely well. She did great singing and acting.

I loved Les Miserables. It is an amazing movie. The story is so redeeming, and it holds many valuable morals such as forgiveness, mercy, and love. There are many sad parts, and a couple inappropriate scenes (more on that in a minute), but altogether the story is amazing, and I would definitely recommend it to teenagers and adults (not children). The music did not disappoint, either. It was so full of emotion, and all the singers did fantastically.

Inapropro/violent/scary stuff...
The Plugged In review goes into more detail, but there are a couple brief inappropriate scenes (although not horrible). One is right after Fantine sings a line that goes something like, "C'mon, captain, you can wear your shoes." Another is in the middle of the song "Master of the House" (actually, that whole song is somewhat awkward/inappropriate).

There IS a war in this film, which includes lots of blood/shooting/dying. I can't say whether or not you personally should watch it, but the violence was not horrific.

You can read more in-depth about this kind of stuff HERE.

Altogether, Les Miserables was amazing. When the movie ended, I just sat there for a moment thinking, "Wow, that was a great movie." I'd give it a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars (with a 1/2 star taken off for the brief inappropriate scenes). I loved Les Mis. It is definitely one of my new favorites, and if you are a teen or adult, I'd definitely recommend watching it.

(all pictures from the Les Miserables Facebook page)

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Madison  – (January 6, 2013 at 10:21 PM)  

Thanks for this review Talia! I wanted to see Les Mis but then wasn't sure because of the plugged in online review. So were the inappropriate scenes as bad as they were made out to be in the review? I love Les Mis and would love to watch the movie. Perhaps I can simply skip those scenes when The DVD comes out. :))



Hadassah  – (January 7, 2013 at 6:41 AM)  

I'm going to be seeing this play next month!

BFoxy  – (January 7, 2013 at 8:02 AM)  

Great review Talia! :) I thnk you were definitely spot on. I felt too that the song, Master of the House was QUITE awkward and crude. Lovely Ladies was a bit nightmare-ish and felt out of place too, but less so than Master of the House. I think it's because seeing those scenes in a play would have been different than a movie. A movie should be more seamless, whereas a play can have those kinds of things and still seem 'normal'. I LOVEd Aaron T as Enjolras, but because I read the book, there was a lot of important detail and history between Enjolras, Marius and the other revolutionaries that was left out. I also though it was HILARIOUS how you described Javert as a grumpy teddy bear-that is SO true! I actually liked Cosette's voice a lot, but I agree they needed more developement between her and Valjean. Anyway, it was a great movie! Good review.

Talia  – (January 7, 2013 at 8:47 AM)  

Madison - thanks for commenting! Well, the first time I closed my eyes on the inappropriate scenes (the ones I expected), but my mom said they weren't horrible and they actually weren't as bad as I was expecting. This movie is DEFINITELY worth watching, so I can't say whether those scenes would be okay for somebody else to watch, they just weren't as bad as I anticipated reading the review.

Ruby J. Plank  – (January 7, 2013 at 10:26 AM)  

I loved this movie so much! I kinda like the Russel Crowe as Javert, and I loved Cossettes voice (even if it did vibrate a lot). This movie was awesome. :)

Anonymous –   – (January 9, 2013 at 8:37 AM)  

Wannnaaaaa see it. My pastor mentioned the movie in his sermon Sunday, and I am aching to watch it!! Great job, Talia.

Neeley  – (January 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM)  

Totally in love with this movie. It's my favorite book ever.
I felt Plugged In made it sound a lot worse than it actually was, but maybe that was just me.
Great review!

Kara Klarabelle Siert  – (January 14, 2013 at 8:16 PM)  

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :) I enjoyed hearing your opinions on Les Mis. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :) That's funny; one of my friends mentioned Javert as a "teddy bear" as well! lol

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