The Most Love/Hate Film In Decades

Categories: Film

Les Miserables has been drawing extreme reactions from people, from "I sobbed the whole time" to "I winced, then vomited, then ran for my life."

That's actually good. Anything that polarizes people so strongly has obviously got something going on.

In this week's column, I tell you what I think of the film while also sizing up the other grandiose Oscar hopefuls vying for the gold.

But let me relay some of the more extraordinary--and opposite--feelings critics have put forth about the grand-scale, live-singing France-via-Broadway epic.

Critical thumbs have flown up, down, and every which way but loose in regards to what's either a Mis-hegoss or a Mis-terpiece.


"A brilliant adaptation"

"A standing-ovation triumph"

The live singing provides "a welcome organic quality and immediacy."

"The best movie musical I have ever seen."


"Ironically, the grandly scaled Les Miserables may be the first epic-sized musical that leaves one feeling claustrophobic."

"A long, windy, thematically repetitive musical."

"A swing and a miz."

"The good news: Les Miserables is a less miserable film experience than expected. The bad news: it's still miserable."

Russell Crowe "just seems stiff and awkward singing awful rhymed couplets in close-up, an understandable reaction given how unpleasant the experience is on our side of the camera as well."

"A gaunt Anne Hathaway plunges into her character's suffering with such unseemly relish that she practically licks her chops with self indulgent woe."

"By the grand may be raising the white flag in exhausted defeat."

This one makes The Master seem non-polarizing by comparison. Care to add your own extreme reactions?

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I laughed (at inappropriate times)! I cried (even when I knew I was being manipulated)! It’s the FEEL SOMETHING movie of the year (and all in extreme close-up)!

Best summary of the film: The woman sitting next to me was sobbing throughout. On some songs she started sobbing before the actor even started singing. Meanwhile, two rows behind us a man was snoring loudly (and he still sounded better than Russell Crowe).


I haven't seen it, but I'm sure I'd love/hate it.