Les misérables

Critics Consensus

Les Misérables transcends its unwieldy story with compelling ideas and an infectious energy that boils over during a thrilling final act.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 185

88%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 26

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Critic Reviews for Les Misérables

All Critics (185) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (163) | Rotten (22)

  • It is the most incendiary crime film to emerge from French cinema since Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine.

    September 5, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Ly is a deft orchestrator of story - and chaos.

    September 2, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A politically-charged urban western. Will keep an eye out for Ly's follow-up.

    September 2, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's inexorable, terrifying, heartbreaking, with a finale that has plenty of weight. Ly's debut reminded me of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, made 30 years ago: urgent, provocative, tragic.

    August 26, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Its merely plot-driven depictions of its residents converges with Ly's merely functional direction, to flatten "Les Misérables" into the undistinguished style of conventionally apolitical and socially indifferent conventional crime dramas.

    January 24, 2020 | Full Review…
  • When it reaches its boiling point, "Les Misérables" absolutely roils.

    January 23, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Les Misérables

  • Jan 25, 2020
    I can't help but feel that France made a mistake when they selected their official entry for the 2019 Oscars. Les Miserables is a perfectly fine, if not good, cop thriller with a social urgency bubbling under the surface to provide added depth, but it's no Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which was sumptuous and one of the best films of the year. Regardless, this movie follows a new officer on his first day transferred to his new unit in the ghettos of Paris where his experienced partners have harassed the mostly Muslim immigrants to the point of simmering community resentment. Then, in the middle of a pitched crowd of kids fighting the officers, an accident happens, the incident is recorded via a drone camera, and different factions are racing to get a hold of that footage and its inherent leverage. Les Miserables has a docu-drama cinema verite visual approach and plenty of authenticity in its details of beat cops, a minority community under surveillance and mistrust, and the corrupting influence of power. It's an efficiently made thriller with some potent drama. However, it takes way too long to get going. That drone incident doesn't happen until an hour into the running time, beyond the halfway point. Until then it's setting up the various characters and grievances and starting to test our new transfer with how comfortable he will be accepting the borderline behavior of his fellow officers. I really felt like once the drone incident hit the rest of the movie would be off like a shot, a race to the finish, and it's just not. It concludes too quickly and then introduces a revenge assault that made me yell loudly, and profanely, at my TV when it faded to black without any legitimate ending. I think writer/director Ladj Ly is going for the ambiguity of whether or not these characters are in their "corrupt" and "lost" boxes that society has forced them into, whether they will have their humanity stripped away to become another statistic in an ongoing struggle, but I don't think a non-ending helps his cause. It makes the movie, already feeling misshapen in structure, feel incomplete. Ending on a quote by Victor Hugo is not the same. Les Miserables is a finely made thriller but at least Hugo's version had an actual ending. Nate's Grade: B-
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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