I could make this review, very, very short: It’s been a long time since Kathy and I left a theater with tears running down our cheeks.
To expand a bit. When Les Miz played on Broadway in the 80’s and 90’s, it was our go-to play for visiting friends, family, and pastors. We wanted to show off what was the best Broadway could do. I remember one pastor turning to me during the performance and saying, “I know what this show is about, but what do all these other people who come think this show is about?” He was stunned that a show that revolved so obviously around the conflict between grace and legalism, love and hate had become so popular.
The movie faithfully follows every nuance of the Broadway production. While film critics and moviegoers may debate the wisdom of transferring a stage production wholesale onto film, I for one am glad that millions of viewers will be exposed to the themes of redemption, self-righteousness, and self-sacrifice. Critics uncomfortable with the unabashed sincerity with which those themes are treated have mocked the film as “risible.” The rest of us can weep tears of joy.