Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 25, 2012
    60
    If you like your musicals enormous, over the top and bang-on-the-head manipulative, Les Miserables is the movie for you.
  2. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Dec 25, 2012
    78
    When Les Misérables is good, it is very, very good, and when it is bad, it's usually because Russell Crowe has opened his mouth.
  3. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 25, 2012
    63
    After 2½ hours, the movie's become a bowl of trail mix - you're picking out the nuts you don't like and hoping the next bite doesn't contain any craisins. All the carefully crafted misérables turns into a pile of miz.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark Keizer
    Dec 6, 2012
    70
    For fans, this is exactly how the story of Jean Valjean's transformation from thief to saint should be delivered: smothered in bombast.
  5. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Dec 25, 2012
    63
    Where the musical falls short is – well, music. Hooper's quest for realism leads singers to sob, choke off sentences or drop into inaudible whispers during grand melodies. A musical ought to convey emotions too large for speech: sorrow, joy, love that can't be expressed in ordinary ways. Turning songs into vocalized dramatic monologues misses the point.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 20, 2012
    38
    The camera bobs and weaves like a drunk, frantically. So you have hammering close-ups, combined with woozy insecurity each time more than two people are in the frame. Twenty minutes into the retelling of fugitive Valjean, his monomaniacal pursuer Javert, the torch singers Fantine and Eponine and the rest, I wanted somebody to just nail the damn camera to the ground.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 25, 2012
    83
    Tom Hooper, who directed "The King's Speech," is not great with action and big set pieces, but he gets the job done. What makes Les Misérables work are the up-close moments when he can focus on performance and song.
  8. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    Jan 7, 2013
    80
    Occasionally, like its characters, ragged around the edges, this nevertheless rings with all the emotion and power of the source and provides a new model for the movie musical.
  9. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 12, 2012
    50
    This steam-driven military weapon of an enterprise is a sobering reminder of just how tinny a musical Les Misérables was in the first place.
  10. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 23, 2012
    50
    Hooper's approach comes across as the equivalent of sitting in the front row of a stage play while the entire cast leans forward and blares each song into your eardrums.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 25, 2012
    80
    Despite its pitfalls, this movie musical is a clutch player that delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.
  12. Reviewed by: Christine Dolan
    Dec 25, 2012
    75
    The movie is visually stunning, expansive yet intimate.
  13. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Dec 10, 2012
    60
    Even at a generous running time that matches this season's other giant award candidates, Les Misérables seems like it's in a hurry, skittering from one number to the next without interlude. After Hathaway's early high point, it starts to feel numbing, an unending barrage of musical emoting carrying us through Valjean's adopting of Cosette, the latter's first encounter with Marius, the battle at the barricade and a last hour that can feel like it's a non-stop series of death arias.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 25, 2012
    80
    What we're left with is a love-it-or-hate-it film. Those determined to resist its deep-seated romanticism - or its operatic approach - will probably emerge from the theater as miserable as the film's characters. But those who are willing to give into it, and who want to take a grand cinematic voyage, stand to be greatly rewarded.
  15. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 20, 2012
    80
    Fortunately, this sprawling epic is well-anchored. There cannot be a better big-screen showman than Jackman.
  16. 60
    The tasteless bombardment that is Les Misérables would, under most circumstances, send audiences screaming from the theater, but the film is going to be a monster hit and award winner, and not entirely unjustly.
  17. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 20, 2012
    75
    It's worth seeing the movie for Hathaway alone.
  18. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Dec 27, 2012
    70
    It's also a testament to the strength of Claude-Michel Schonberg's music that everything after the show-stopping lament of Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" doesn't come across as so much padding.
  19. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 23, 2012
    75
    If you love Les Mis the stage musical, my guess is you will love what Hooper and his bustling company have done. But when you hear "Master of the House" and you think of the Seinfeld episode with Elaine's gruff dad belting the tune before you think of those shifty innkeepers the Thénardiers, then you may want to steer clear of this grand endeavor.
  20. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 25, 2012
    67
    The cinematic technique of director Tom Hooper tries to replicate the appeal which has drawn millions to stage performances, but comes up more than a little short. This version of Les Misérables simply doesn't sing.
  21. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 21, 2012
    88
    Les Miserables understandably cuts some of the stage production's numbers, but all of the major anthems are intact and wonderfully presented.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 21, 2012
    88
    Besides being a feast for the eyes and ears, Les Misérables overflows with humor, heartbreak, rousing action and ravishing romance. Damn the imperfections, it's perfectly marvelous.
  23. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 26, 2012
    50
    Fans of Les Misérables wouldn't have minded if the movie were different, but better, or just as effective. The screen version demanded some reconception, some vision to make sense of its existence. Instead, we're left with a film that is conscientious in all its particulars and yet strangely and mysteriously dead.
  24. Reviewed by: Calum Marsh
    Dec 7, 2012
    25
    One would be hard-pressed to describe this, despite the wealth of beauty on display, as anything but an ugly film, shot and cut ineptly.
  25. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 1, 2013
    50
    We're all familiar with the experience of seeing movies that cram ideas and themes down our throats. Les Misérables may represent the first movie to do so while also cramming us down the throats of its actors.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 25, 2012
    50
    Fans of the franchise will greet Les Misérables as a feast for the senses, but the rest of us are left with crumbs.
  27. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Dec 25, 2012
    67
    The problem is that so little about Hooper's Les Misérables feels integrated. The cast feels like a grab bag of talented stage vets and garish stunt-casting choices, particularly Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter, who perform the fan-favorite comic number "Master Of The House" as a jerky, staccato series of show-off moves and attempted but inadequate scene-stealing.
  28. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Dec 20, 2012
    75
    You don't have to go to the barricades for Hooper's film to appreciate it for what it is – a productive experiment, an epic-scaled weepie, an exercise in sincere kitsch, and, perhaps too easily dismissed, a rare modern movie about the wretched poor, a traditional subject of interest at this time of year.
  29. Reviewed by: Catherine Shoard
    Dec 6, 2012
    60
    By the end, you feel like a piñata: in pieces, the victim of prolonged assault by killer pipes.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 6, 2012
    50
    As the enduring success of this property has shown, there are large, emotionally susceptible segments of the population ready to swallow this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean it's good.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 628 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 218
  1. Dec 25, 2012
    10
    Absolutely incredible - easily matches the likes of The Hobbit, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty as one of the best films this year. Best musical film adaptation since Chicago. Jackman's 'Bring Him Home' is sure to go down in Les Mis history as the best since the likes of Colm Wilkinson; the same can be said for Eddie Redmayne's 'Empty Chairs', which is easily on par with the legendary Michael Ball. Surprisingly, Russell Crowe does very, very well as Javert - he's not a fantastic singer but his vocals are still very good. Stars is within the top five of the film.

    EDIT: 'CineTigre' clearly has no idea what they are talking about. Les Miserables did NOT originate as an opera, it was a French musical which was translated into English and presented on the West End in 1985. There is no 'guillotine' because that was A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FRENCH REVOLUTION. The entirety of the main cast, other than Amanda Seyfriend and Russell Crowe, have significant experience when it comes to musical theatre, so they indeed hired singers. He/she is either a Les Mis purist who is far too clingy to the source material or a troll who is simply trying to lower the score, possibly in comparison to that *other* big christmas movie.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 25, 2012
    8
    Having seen the musical version of
  3. Dec 25, 2012
    9
    As a die hard fan of the musical, I feel like my opinion will be most helpful to other die hard fans. What I can say is that it does change a lot of minor things, like the order of some songs, some of the lines, and even cuts some musical portions out. Everything that is absolutely essential is there, but they cut out Valjean's final stanza in The Confrontation, so Javert just sings his part solo, they cut out the end part of that song, they cut out Dog Eats Dog altogether, and they cut out most of Turning, for example. However, it's all minor, and everything works out extremely well. The changes they make, for the most part, help uphold a structure more suited for a movie than a stage production. Russell Crowe as Javert is emotionless, yet the background music and the directing help make his scenes as good as they can be despite his weak performance. Everybody else is great though. Anne Hathaway as Fantine better win an Oscar, otherwise I will be boycotting the entire ceremony for years to come. I never had the type of reaction in any movie as I had during I Dreamed A Dream. I was involuntarily breathing heavily enough for the people two rows behind me to hear, and I noticed that my heart was pounding. I was too numb to even clap. She sang it in such a way that I had never heard before, and I've heard many versions that I've loved. Still, when I heard Anne's, it was like a lightbulb went off, and someone finally figured out how you're really supposed to sing it. Eddie Redmayne as Marius also gave a pretty beautiful performance, and Hugh Jackman held up his role very well, and brought a lot of emotion to What Have I Done?, Who Am I?, and Bring Him Home. Helena Bohnam Carter isn't nearly as enjoyable as some of the Broadway performers I've seen in that role, but the Thenardiers hold their roles up very nicely. Amanda Seyfried has an unexpectedly good voice, which blends well with Eddie's and Samantha Barks's, who is great as Eponine. The directing is very intimate and passionate, which I thought was a fantastic choice for a story this much based on human thoughts and emotions. The one change I really didn't like was that Eponine wasn't included with Fantine in the finale. It was just Fantine, which I didn't like, because the harmonies they did in the stage production were absolutely beautiful, in my opinion. All in all, there were some changes I didn't like, and Russell Crowe's performance fell flat. For me though, as amazing as I think the musical is, it would take a whole lot of unnecessary changes, more than just one weak (although not even particularly bad) performance, for me to not be absolutely blown away by Les Miserables. If you find the musical to be an absolute knockout, for other reasons than just Javert's character alone, you will probably love this movie as I did. Full Review »