A Christmas Afternoon Review of Les Miserables

After a Christmas day that would make even the Who’s jealous (lights, puppies, presents, and of course some roast beast), we stopped into a local theater to catch Les Miserables.

Watch a brief trailer featuring one of my favorite Broadway songs: I Dreamed a Dream.

Aside from the medical emergency that stopped the film 5 minutes in and the gentleman behind us who forgot to turn off his 2003 cell phone, Les Mis was excellent. I’d convinced myself that I had never seen the entire story, but found myself remembering the next step in the plot before it had even happened, which was a lot of fun.

Anne Hathaway blows you away as Fontine, leaving you waiting for more and wishing her character was on the screen a lot more. Everyone has said that she’s untested, but this performance definitely rings Oscar.

One of the coolest things about this film is that it is the first Hollywood musical filmed with the actors singing live. Hugh Jackman said in an interview that the only part that was re-taped was the opening scene: filming in the shipyard destroyed the microphones hidden on the actors and the audio was a wash.

With a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Les Mis is clearly resonating with its cinematic grandeur and accomplishment. Fans will be thrilled and if you’re not eternally endeared you may fall in love with the story and this excellent mix of weathered Hollywood heavyweights and fresher actors.

VOGUE released an amazing photo shoot with a few notes about the film, showing the depth, grandeur, and touching intimacy that is clear throughout all 157 minutes.

jen darling by j.k.h. nelson


The romantic in me finds the relationship between Cosette and Marius (Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmeyne) very interesting. It’s a perfect case of love at first sight, but as a writer I wanted more. More dialogue, more moments together, more reasons for them to be together aside from their obvious chemistry and level of attractiveness. I felt for Eponine (Samantha Barks), but I just kept waiting for her to speak up. I guess that’s the modern woman in me. Seyfried delivers and Redmeyne is amazing. Barks had played Eponine in the 25th Anniversary Concert on Broadway and I can’t wait to see what Hollywood will put her in next.

jen darling by j.k.h. nelson


A welcome lightness came to the film through Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen’s portrayal of The Thernardier’s. Clearly not the best singers, the pair brought just the right amount of humor and sleaze to their roles, off-setting a slightly stiff Russell Crowe as Javert and Hugh Jackman trying almost too hard as Jean Valjean.

I loved the film despite our interruptions. Unfortunately we were sitting in the world’s most uncomfortable movie theater (the floor sloped up towards the screen, really those still exist?). Combined with the extensive length, it was hard to focus on the screen and these small imperfections creeped into my consciousness. My suggestion: find a comfortable theater and bring a snack. You may also want to bring a tissue.

I’ll definitely be getting this on DVD to try to catch all of the details that I know I missed. Are you going to see Les Mis this weekend?

Rating: jen darling by j.k.h. nelsonjen darling by j.k.h. nelsonjen darling by j.k.h. nelsonjen darling by j.k.h. nelson

2 thoughts on “A Christmas Afternoon Review of Les Miserables

  1. Chelsea

    I saw it with my Mom and Dad last night. As the product of years of voice lessons, my favorite parts were seeing true musical theater classics – “I Dreamed a Dream” “Castle in a Cloud” “On My Own” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and more – come to life on the big screen.


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