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‘Les Misérables:’ A Must-See Holiday Movie, But Beware, It's Intense

The musical, 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 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.  

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