Christian Living


Les Miserables: Movie Review

Star Rating

Movie Info






December 25, 2012


Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter


Tom Hooper


Universal Pictures

More on this movie at IMDb.com

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Les Miserables, director Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the long-running stage musical, is a cinematic achievement. Starring an ensemble cast, led by Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables far exceeds high expectations.

Powerful, raw performances from the tailor-made cast tell Victor Hugo's story of a man's discovery of grace and his enemy’s unwavering obsession to uphold the law. Caution is advised for parents of young children. This movie is rated PG-13 for language and sexual situations.


Jean Valjean is a criminal, No. 24601. Now on parole, Valjean gets free from the chains that bound him. But freedom from his past doesn’t come as easily as he is met with animosity and disdain everywhere he turns, until he meets a benevolent bishop. Determined to make a better life for himself, Valjean renounces his old life, takes a new name and breaks parole. Inspector Javert, who supervised Valjean's imprisonment, vows to put him in chains again for his desertion. Valjean is settled in a quaint French town when his cover is blown. To keep a promise, Valjean must elude Javert to rescue a young girl from poverty. Arriving in Paris, at the brink of rebellion, Valjean soon finds himself entangled in situations that could expose his true identity.


Les Miserables does a superb job of taking the inspiring music from the stage to the screen. Even more than, this new film, from The King’s Speech director, is a salvation story. Valjean is ready to become the criminal he is labeled when a pivotal moment presents him with the opportunity to accept God’s grace. His story is paralleled with Inspector Javert’s. The lawman is Old Testament to Valjean’s New Testament. Javert believes the best way to honor God is through your works, while Valjean gives his life to God, accepting His grace. It’s a powerful story, and Hooper does a wonderful job highlighting the religious symbolism in the film.

Standouts performances are given by Eddie Redmayne, Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman (the latter two were just nominated for Golden Globes). What’s impressive is that the cast sings all of the songs live to tape. This makes the story even more engaging. You feel the anguish in Fantine’s voice as she falls into her pit of despair. You feel Valjean's intense sincerity as he contemplates the bishop’s compassionate deed.

Rated PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements, Les Miserables is inappropriate for younger audiences. Victor Hugo’s story is not a clean one, but it is spiritually redemptive. The utter misery and evil is juxtaposed against the mercy that can found through God and the love of good people. For instance, Jesus’ name is used profanely a few times by those who wish nothing of Him. That is contrasted with how the other characters honor God.


Les Miserables is great movie to see this Christmas not only for its moving music, but for its story of the life-changing mercy of God.

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