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Is Les Misérables the Must-See Movie of the Holiday Season?

Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, is a musical and visual feast—but not for the whole family.

The must-see holiday movie of the year arrives Christmas Day as Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, opens nationwide.

The movie adaptation of the world’s longest-running musical features Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper’s innovation of actors singing live, taping their singing parts while filming rather than lip-synching and their songs being added in post-production. The result is best captured when Anne Hathaway, as the desperate single mother Fantine, sings “I Dreamed A Dream” and the audience sobs with her as she despairs over her life as a prostitute.

Hooper honors the source material from Victor Hugo’s story while providing a visual feast, from the opening scene where you brace yourself to be splashed with water to floating upward with a torn piece of paper rising to heaven to balancing on a narrow ledge with Notre Dame.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter add comic relief as corrupt innkeepers and the cruel foster parents of Fantine's daughter, Cosette. One of their scenes will leave you roaring with laughter while vowing never to eat sausage again.

While set in 19th century France, the movie’s themes make it feel relevant for today. Take your teens, but not your kids under age 13. In addition to the movie’s violence, watching Fantine’s descent into hell as she sells her hair, teeth, then finally herself away will break your heart and leave a child with nightmares—Les Misérables indeed.  

Bwood December 25, 2012 at 04:10 PM
It's not if you listen to this critic. http://www.chron.com/entertainment/movies/article/Live-singing-experiment-hurts-Les-Miserables-4143854.php
Vito Spago December 25, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Book was better. I read it in high school about 30 years ago.
Lorraine Pozniak December 25, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I saw Les Misérables in London, in 1985, before the official opening, so I was one of the first people to see this amazing musical. I almost never go to the movies anymore, so I'll wait until the DVD comes out and I'll probably end up buying it.
Carol Spencer December 26, 2012 at 01:04 AM
I just saw it this afternoon and it is wonderful - moving, amazing musical the acting was suburb - it is a must see whenever. However, I am glad I saw it at the first showing at the Landmark, Westside Pavillion
Lorraine Pozniak December 27, 2012 at 06:12 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Carol. I guess I'll need to have a fresh box of Kleenex ready when I watch it...

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