User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 638 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 638

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  1. Jan 4, 2013
    8
    It's big and it's brassy and if you like to listen to lyrics it gets you in the gut quite often. I usually hate musicals, and "Chicago" is the last one I saw-and liked-and I've seen, and liked, the stage version. The movie version allowed me to hear the lyrics better, and I finally was able to get into Redmayne's great solo "empty chairs," (made me wonder how veterans would take it) and hated what Cohen and Bonham Carter did with "Master of the house." It was a tad long and had Cohen been cropped after his main bit it would have helped. You'll either get sucked in or be bored to tears. Expand
  2. Jan 4, 2013
    8
    I found Les Miserables a very enjoyable movie. I'm not a big fan of musicals but I found myself humming the songs after leaving the theater. The cast did a surprising job of creating memorable characters and singing some of the most memorable songs. The criticisms I have is that it is very long (2 and half hours) and some awkward scenes where the singing is forced. This isn't one of my favorite movies of the year but was more than I expected and something I would recommend seeing. Along with last years The King's Speech, Hooper has shown that he has the potential to become the next great English director and one who creates diverse movie experiences. Expand
  3. Jan 3, 2013
    9
    I just saw Les Miz and was so aghast at how this movie was rated by a lot of critics. I read the reviews aa soon as they came out and was a little disappointed but since this has been my favorite musical for ages, I had to see it. I cannot imagine why it was judged so harshly but I am so glad that I went to see it anyway. This movie was as close to the stage musical as a movie can get and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you have seen the musical, then you know that it is not necessarily an uplifting story but it is a beautiful one and the music is wonderful. I think the entire cast did an excellent job and I have to disagree with all of the critics than panned it. I would have thought that the accumulation of scores of the critics would have equaled somewhere in the eighties at the very least. I don't believe that true fans of the musical will be disappointed and hopefully those who are unfamiliar with the musicall will enjoy it also. I haven't heard as much about Hugh Jackman as I have of Anne Hathaway, but I think he did a great job. Bravo! Expand
  4. Jan 3, 2013
    9
    Overall this movie was great. I was insisted to see it because of how much acclaim the play got and the acting nominations. Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and others (Sasha Baron-Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, etc.) were great, and this is a must see.
  5. Jan 3, 2013
    8
    Be forewarned: I had never seen the stage production of Les Miserables prior to watching the movie, nor had I read the book. All I knew about the story was that it was set in France sort of around the time of the French Revolution (several years later, I came to find out). That being said, the story FEELS like a story, rather than something that could actually happen (e.g., love at first sight is used as a major plot device, characters often find the characters they're looking for out of sheer coincidence, etc.). Despite that, it is still a very solid movie. The acting is phenomenal. Anne Hathaway's and Samantha Barks' solos are heart-wrenching, and really help bring the movie to life. And all the songs are recorded live, i.e., we're hearing what we see, rather than a studio recording. Again, I have never seen any other version of Les Mis, but it certainly feels like the director did everything in his power to bring this classic back to life. Expand
  6. Jan 3, 2013
    7
    I really enjoyed this movie and thought that it did a good job of doing a great original story justice. Jackman and Hatheway are definitely the outstanding performers for me but the rest of the cast was good as well. At times the singing of dialogue seems out of place especially on Crowes part. I feel like the movie could have been better if the actual dialogue was spoken and acted out and then characters go into the big songs from the musical. Expand
  7. Jan 2, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The film was, to sum it all up in one word, amazing. Each individual cast member was perfect for the role that they played. Hot shots like Russel Crowe portrayed the unforgiving Javert with utmost perfection. Anne Hathaway's Fantine was heartbreaking and beautiful, especially during the wrenching and tortured performance of "I Dreamed a Dreamed." Hugh Jackman was a great Jean Valjean, showing, with clarity, the transitions that the character goes through throughout the years. This allowed the audience to clearly see his character development from ex-con, to Changed man, to a new father, protective father and throughout all these different times, he was always the man on the run. Amanda Seyfried was a wonderful Cosette opposite the charming Eddie Redmayne as Marius. I always imagined Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the infamous Thernadiers. The dynamic duo were, as I just said, DYNAMIC. Newcomer to the BIG SCREEN Samantha Barks was wonderful as Eponine. Watching her on stage and the Anniversary Concert, there is a clear difference in her portrayal of the character in the different mediums. Although there were large names in this movie, I must say that one of the actors that popped in his role was Daniel Huttlestone who played the street child Gavroche. His performance was comical and, at the end, very heartbreaking. He certainly held his own among an accolade of stars, making himself a star in his own right. Though the music was wonderful, and the idea of LIVE SINGING on the film set was a game changer, I have only one criticism: Russel Crowe's singing. Though his acting skills captured the role of Javert perfectly, his singing was not entrancing like the stage singers that have played the role. His voice was weak and barely had enough vibrato for the songs he was given. At least, however, he was on tune. His weak voice also, on a more positive note, gave the song "Stars" a more serenely haunting tone. Overall the movie was Great. Great actors. Great music. Great design. A must see for all those who appreciate the arts, music, AND, film. Expand
  8. Jan 2, 2013
    8
    Tom Hooper's adaptation of the long running musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo has its fair share of problems. I found most of them to lie in the choices that Hooper made as director and by how frenetic and dizzying that damn camera is. At times (particularly during the revolutionary scenes), I had to take a moment to rub my eyes and look away so as to not induce vomiting. I was so nauseated for the majority of the movie. Hooper also never lets the story take a breath and slow down, which might leave some viewers exhausted on par with the frenetic cinematography. This is a blunt, head-bashing, brash musical that is anything from subtle. It makes films like 'Chicago' and 'Moulin Rouge' look like highly philosophical works of art. All of my complaining aside though, this is a good movie. The production design and staging is quite impeccable and the story manages to remain comprehensible even across a near three hour running time. But if I am to say that anything redeems 'Les Miserables' it has to be the work from its dedicated cast. Everyone in the film gives great performances (even those who don't quite have the greatest singing chops). Many of the supporting turns, given by such new talent as Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks, threaten to brew into deservedly lucrative acting careers in the future. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (both in that classic, twisted musical from 2007, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), provide much needed comic relief to the movie. Hugh Jackman, I dare say, is a pitch perfect choice for the part of Jean Valjean. He has great vocals and that pained, burdened kind of look needed for the role. Now to the final bit of business. To describe Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine as a show-stopper, is just completely unfitting. She makes this movie. If any reason at all, see this film for her legendary performance of 'I Dreamed a Dream'. I expected that it would be the highlight of the film and I was right. She completely steals the show. This movie should grant her the first Oscar of her career and it would be more than well-deserved. So, to sum up 'Les Miserables', the movie is problematic and flat-footed, but I dare you not to leave the theater unaffected because, as obvious as it is, the movie works because of the acting on display. Expand
  9. Jan 2, 2013
    7
    The movie was actually just as entertaining as the book, and other various takes on in on stage productions and movies but this definitely seemed to be much longer than expected. The story truly draws you in; you laugh, you cry, and you get squirmy in your chair mostly due to the fact that it seems to go on and on, and on.... more like a 5 hour production. It was entertaining but I am so glad that I decided to go to the matinee and not take in a later showing because I'm sure I would've fallen asleep. Expand
  10. Jan 2, 2013
    1
    From the second it begun to its end, I was not interested. The characters did not pull me and the singing was not that good, especially compared to the musical. The only part that was actually entertaining were the Thenardiers, they were a very good comic relief for the boring plot. Altogether the story was boring, the singing wasn't up to par, and the characters were not interesting at all.
  11. Jan 2, 2013
    5
    The film affectingly stumbles over its own grandeur. While many of the actors do a fine and occasionally memorable job, they also seem to be given more freedom to express their roles the way they choose, which can cause serious problems. The structure of the film was shoddily slapped together and the director botched it. Such a shame as his previous work is of note.
  12. Jan 1, 2013
    10
    There has been a great deal of division amongst reviewers of Les Miserables. Quite honestly, the people with the most vocal and negative opinions are the people who don't really have any understanding of what they're talking about. The majority of critiques are from people who walked into the movie expecting and wishing it to fail. Naturally, when you want something to be bad, it will be. To you. Objectively, you will still be wrong and look like an idiot, but you can be wrong if you want to. That said, I really do not see how this movie could possibly improve. The vision for this movie was simply executed as exact as the project was planned. The cinematography was excellent, as expected. People complained that it was in peoples faces too much. That, to me, is just a childish complaint that isn't even worth paying attention to. There are just as much long distance shots as there are close-ups (I specifically looked for this). People are just giving unnecessary emphasis on the close-ups. It's fine, people. Get over it. Now, on to the concept. One thing must first be said. This is first and foremost a "movie." NOT a musical. The musical aspect comes second. This means the cast's acting must be judged at a higher priority than singing ability. Secondly, this is not a normal musical. Characters are not just singing songs, they are "acting" them. I can't tell you how many reviews I've seen claiming all kinds of "flat" notes that issued forth. Nonsense. Not only is that ridiculous in light of the refinement this project had before the final optimization of every single song, but it is a ridiculous claim in light of the project itself. Like I said, they are not simply singing the songs. They are singing some parts of the song, and speaking/yelling/crying other parts of the song. That is to be expected. However, some more ignorant people are overlooking this fact and seeing those parts of songs as "flat" notes.

    Now, the cast. I'm sure nobody would disagree with me that the most controversial selection for this movie is Russell Crowe. It would be avoiding the elephant in the room to avoid talking about him. People are still to this day trashing Crowe's performance, some saying he ruined the movie. That's like getting a paper-cut and saying you're going to die. These people are so dramatic. Crowe's performance was more than excellent. There is no better Javert than Crowe, I'm sorry. Some people will say "...But his singing!..." -was great. Crowe was never flat, and his acting was excellent. If you know anything about Hugo's description of Javert from the actual book, you'll know that Victor Hugo spends the majority of the time describing in great detail the physical appearance of Javert, and the atmosphere/presence he gives off. THAT is most important, according to the "author" of this entire story. I'm sorry, that is more important than anything else. For example, Javert is described to look like a wolf and have an extremely intimidating presence. Crowe is biologically suited for this role. Someone like Norm Lewis (Javert, 25th Anniversary) may be considered better than Crowe vocally in terms of Opera, Lewis is far from intimidating. Also, you don't expect a character like Javert to have some clean, crisp voice. You expect what you get from Crowe. A rugged and rough voice. There is just no comparison. Crowe fits the uniform better than anybody. Nina Gold (Casting Director) knew what she was doing. Ironically, all this fuss about Crowe shows his performance was not forgettable. I hear not a single person talking about Amanda Seyfried's performance, because it was probably the most forgettable of the entire cast. Not to say she did a bad job (she didn't), she was just boring. One thing I find funny is that you can always tell the childish critic by one simple feature. Their review after the movie is identical to their review before the movie. They walk into a movie with bias and preconceived notions, and this effects their entire opinion of the movie before they even see it. It's a shame. If you're going to see this movie, understand first what you are going to see. If you understand that and go with an open mind (not expecting this to be just a parrot of the 10th or 25th anniversary), you will love this movie.
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  13. Jan 1, 2013
    10
    I personally can't believe how negative the critics reviews have been for the film. I think in terms of musical numbers, acting and story, this is one of the best adaptations from musical to film. Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne really knocked out of the park, while Russell Crowe (somewhat weird voice) did just fine. I thought the cameo additions of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter was tremendous, adding a light side to such a dark tale. I don't know what movie a good percentage of critics saw. Expand
  14. Dec 30, 2012
    5
    I'm sure there will be plenty of people who feel this is an oscar worthy film, but for me, it was a disaster. The jittery camera work, and the forced vocals were just too overwhelming to rate this film higher for me. The costumes were beautiful, the cinematography and grand sets were brilliantly done and probably worthy of an oscar.

    I felt most of the female singing roles were well
    done. Ms Hathaway's performance should land her at least an Oscar nomination. The younger Cosette and the young rebellious boy sang beautifully. I believe Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne did brilliant as the older Cosette and Marius.

    For me, that's where the brilliance stops. Hugh seemed strained most of the time and I never felt he had control of his voice the whole film. I'm not a music coach, but my ear knows what it likes. Russell Crowe was worse and never sold me on his character as Javert.

    As far as musicals go, this was no where near what Chicago offered and makes me wonder why Mr Hooper decided to recreate an actual musical on the big screen. There's probably a reason why it hasn't been done before. I felt like I had been treated to a musical without even the option of an intermission. I would have rather watched a real musical than this mess of a performance.
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  15. Dec 30, 2012
    10
    "To love another person is to see the face of God."
    I hear the beautiful voices and see the magnificent acting as the movie vibrates in my memory. I will never forget this feeling.
  16. Dec 30, 2012
    10
    Our plan was to see "Lincoln" but we reluctantly ended up with "Les Miserables" because of a time shift. What a pleasant surprise this was ! ... The movie was incredibly incredible to say the least. I have not seen such a well put together movie from all its aspects for the longest time and I would indeed considered it a classic for the ages. The story and the picture glued me to my seat and connected me emotionally at all times. It is the sort of movie that you live in and somehow you do not want it to end because it is appealing to all your senses. I know already that I would acquire this movie for my home collection as soon as this is possible and will be visiting it frequently knowing that it will only get better with time. Expand
  17. Dec 30, 2012
    9
    I have seen two other adaptations of Les Miserables. They are both pretty well done and they earned better reviews than this new adaptation. The new Tom Hooper adaptation is ultimately the best. Hugh Jackman leads the way strongly packing emotion in almost every word he sings. Anne Hathaway ended up stealing every single scene she was in and ended up being one of the best singers. Samantha Barks was probably my favorite part of the film. She was sweet, beautiful, strong, packed enough emotion to show up all the big time stars that are with her. Eddie Redmayne was sometimes sounding like Kermit the Frog and Amanda Seyfried was sounding like a bird in the early morining. While Aaron Tveit was the best vocally and the most entertaining. Les Miserables was a performance film, it had some solid humor, while being emotionally powerful. Tom Hooper had some weird camera angles which sometimes took away from the experience. The new song Expand
  18. Dec 30, 2012
    9
    http://scriptsmotion.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/les-miserables/
    I normally don't even give a musical a chance. The only musical I ever liked, and yes it is a musical as defined by the director, was The Blues Brothers.
    Imagine my surprise at how well Les Misérables resonated with me.
  19. Dec 30, 2012
    7
    Though the fantastic performances of Hathaway, Barks, Redmayne, and little Huddlestone carries much of this film, the astoundingly sub-par performances of Jackman, Crowe, and Seyfried hide the beauty of Hugo's novel. This rushed performance skims through the complexities and beauties of Les Miserables, seemingly to arrive at a "showstopping" number. With shallow depth-of-field throughout, the obvious focal point is the star cast, abandoning the setting which and the characters who make up Les Miserables. Expand
  20. Lyn
    Dec 30, 2012
    5
    Yes, Anne Hathaway's performance of "Dream" is stunning. But when she croaks you've got two more hours to sit through! To be fair, those who loved the stage musical are bound to enjoy this; costumes and performances are first-rate. It's just not as much fun for those of us who like musicals that feature acting and speaking in between the songs (e.g. "Funny Girl," "The Sound of Music").
  21. Dec 30, 2012
    10
    If you're not a fan of the musical, keep in mind the title: most of these people are miserable, so expect drama and suffering. There is an occasional flash of spectacle, but the majority of the film's powerful songs are in close-ups, often one take. The intimate handheld camera adds to the intensity, but sometimes interferes when it's too jerky or causes shadows on faces. The actors run the gamut from revelatory (Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Lucy Hale) to solid (Hugh Jackman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter) to vocally weak (Russell Crowe). All of the singing is done live, so there's an intimate, expressive power that's distinctive. The narrative unfolds with intensity and grandeur, but this is basically opera, so it's more about emotion than logic or dialogue. Overall, this film is a glorious union of moving moments, beautiful music and powerful performances. Expand
  22. Dec 30, 2012
    1
    I have never been more disappointed. I've seen the stage and concert versions and while it was great visually, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were PAINFUL to listen to. The power of the drama which comes from good singing was totally lost. One needs to hear a really good singer sing Bring Him Home (like Thomas Hampson) to know how truly BAD Jackman was. He just didn't have the voice to carry it. There are plenty of people who could have done better! The best singers were the smaller parts. I feel they ruined what could have been a classic by using such poor singers. I don't care if they had a big name, they can't sing! This is a show that NEEDS good singing. I'm so very disappointed. Could go on and on. Expand
  23. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    I am not a musical person and was unfamiliar with the story but went to this on a date - a little too long but amazing cinema photography and music. I almost cried a few times
  24. Dec 29, 2012
    6
    This movie had some amazing stand out performances. However the technique used to capture the actors' singing while was effective at some points was also very problematic. For a full review go here: http://youngthespian42films.blogspot.com/2012/12/les-miserables.html
  25. Dec 29, 2012
    10
    This album brought tears to my eyes! Amazing acting, fantastic songs, and of course a genius story. All portrayed in the most perfect way possible. I recommend going to see this movie ASAP!!!
  26. Dec 29, 2012
    5
    Anne Hathoway is the ONLY redeeming character in this film. The only reason it even receives a 5 from me is because the source material is a masterpiece.

    A masterpiece crumbled into unrecognizable pieces.
  27. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    People who have seen the play on Broadway with an incredible cast may not like the film because the singing (other than the actors who play Eponine and ok---Jean Val Jean) don't have Broadway-caliber voices (although the priest seemed to be one of the original Jean Val Jeans). Even though I saw the original Broadway cast, I enjoyed the movie because I went with the intention of accepting this version as a movie. The weakest performance was Russell Crowe's. He couldn't pull off the emotion required to explain suicide. Overall, the movie is beautiful. Expand
  28. Dec 29, 2012
    10
    I fell in love with this musical as soon as I heard the first lyric. I've seen it on stage countless times, I have bought the 25th anniversary show on DVD, and have every single recording of the show. I was afraid that the movie would let down the amazing show that is Les Mis. It did not. The scale of this movie is immense. The songs were sung on set, rather than recorded and dubbed later, making the songs 'acted' more than 'sung'. Some may see this as a bad thing. "This is a musical! The focus should be on the music!" I have heard time and time again. But when every song makes you cry because of the emotion infused in each actor, you forget you are watching a musical. You become inside the movie. You just want to say, "Don't worry! Jean Valjean will save you!" The characters become real rather than people just singing to a tune. Expand
  29. Dec 28, 2012
    1
    Incredible! ly boring. Amazing! ly bloated. Terrific! ally overwrought and tasteless. When everything on display is Earnest! and Heartfelt!, it renders it all meaningless. Never subtle, always strained, the musical is shockingly claustrophobic instead of soaring, and needlessly literal at all turns.

    A few observations: When making a musical, it might be a good idea to hire singers for
    the lead roles.
    Helena Bonham Carter seems to have wandered in from Sweeney Todd, the prostitutes seem to think they are in Cats, and good deal more of the cast seems to think they are in Oliver! (isn't this supposed to be France?)
    Finally, be careful about your end-of-life haircut choices, as apparently the cut follows you to Heaven!
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  30. Dec 28, 2012
    5
    I really didn't like this film much at all, honestly. The film is much too Broadway and not enough like a movie musical. I hated Tom Hooper's direction, and while I respect the ambition, I would have preferred to see the musical version of this story told in a much different way. There is NO dialogue in film, almost none at all; every conversation and thought was sung, as it would have been on stage...that it the major reason why Les Miserables didn't work for me. This film is like watching the actual Broadway production on tape, songs included. For die-hard fans of the musical, that's great, but for others who just love the story, or even those that love films, this adaptation of Les Miserables disappoints. By including every song from the musical, it included the not-so-great songs as well. This creates a film that soars for some moments, but bores in most others. Instead of including the lesser Les Mis songs, the film should have manipulated the structure of the songs, or even cut some songs entirely. I respect that the film wants to uphold the integrity of the musical, but as a film, it doesn't work. Some of the songs were brilliant, but many weren't, and some were plain awkward, thus weakening the emotional effect of the film.

    There are some amazing things about Les Miserables, though, particularly in the acting. Hugh Jackman gives the performance of his career; he's never been better, and Anne Hathaway is stunning as Fantine! Both are locks for Oscar nominations, and Anne will win based on her heart-wrenching rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" alone. It's probably her best performance to date and while she's only in the film for 20 minutes, Les Mis is worth seeing just for her performance. The rest of the cast is okay at best, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne both have their moments to shine and I enjoyed their performances/songs. Russell Crowe was a very poor Javert; he's not a great singer and it was clear he was uncomfortable in the role.

    As Les Miserables was coming to a close, I was very satisfied with the ending. I did not think it would come together as effectively as it did considering I didn't like the film, but it did still remind me of how a great musical version of Les Miserables is still to come at some point in the future, because this is not that film!
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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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 31, 2012
    50
    It's a relief to see Sacha Baron Cohen, in the role of a seamy innkeeper, bid goodbye to Cosette with the wistful words "Farewell, Courgette." One burst of farce, however, is not enough to redress the basic, inflationary bombast that defines Les Misérables. Fans of the original production, no doubt, will eat the movie up, and good luck to them. I screamed a scream as time went by.