Yep, I was one of the excited fans who lined up to see Les Miserables on Christmas Day. Usually, Christmas day is spent at home with family, but I just couldn't wait to see this film and introduce my kids to this beloved story and music. I loved it and cried like a blubbering idiot at the end....BUT....parents beware.
This film definitely should have been rated R. I remember seeing trailers for Les Mis several months ago and thought it interesting that the preview always carried the text "this film has not yet been rated." I was hoping for a PG-13 so that I could take my family to see it. Granted, the subject matter of the story includes several dark themes, but you don't have to show all of the filth in the gutter to know it's there, right?
For example, the prostitute scene went far beyond what it needed to get the point across. I was completely shocked and extremely disappointed. My four sons sat next to me watching something they should never have to see. Call me an over-protective mother, but really? Did we have to see that played out? The thing about rated R movies and disturbing images is that, once seen, they're difficult to erase from your mind. Isn't the point of an R rating to protect younger, more innocent eyes and minds? Did it seriously NOT cross the minds of those who determine ratings that a scene like that would be offensive to tender eyes?
Likewise, the innkeepers are usually the comic relief in the stage production of Les Miserables, but in this movie they were vulgar and disgusting. They weren't playfully imperfect, but simply crude and revolting. There were only a few quiet laughs in the movie audience, not the usual adoring applause that a more innocent stage play evokes for the Thenardiers.
Less can definitely be more. When Russell Crowe's character Javert jumps off the bridge you hear the loud thump and crunch of his body hitting below, eliciting a united groan from the audience. We don't have to see and hear everything to understand what is happening. While I applaud the director for making certain bold choices, I am disappointed that he didn't rate this movie correctly and he went too far with other things.
I would have loved to see Fantine dressed in a clean, white dress with her long hair again in the end when she was escorting Jean Valjean to his heavenly reward...she was in heaven, after all. (wink) Anne Hathaway did a magnificent job, as did Hugh Jackman. While this movie version doesn't provide the "pretty" rendition of the songs, it packs a powerful emotional punch that makes you feel the music in an entirely new way. Hugh Jackman's meaty performance was truly inspiring.
What a special treat to see Colm Wilkinson, who was the first Valjean on Broadway, included in the cast in the role of the forgiving Bishop of Dignewas. Russell Crowe's performance was believable as a tormented, driven man, but his vocals weren't as strong as most people had hoped to hear from Javert.
Speaking as a parent who wants to share good movies with my children, the "Titanic" movie was great....except for that one nude scene.....this movie had a similar effect on me...it would have gotten two thumbs way up from me...except for the prostitution scene and the innkeepers' crudeness. Parents: beware.
My favorite line: To love another person is to see the face of God. We are all truly "lost in the valley of the night" as we long to be a people "who are climbing to the light."