5 Things To Do Before Seeing ‘Les Miserables’

by Jessica Marshall

Do you hear the people sing? In less than a week, you will hear that music! You will witness the romance! You will behold the majestic pantaloons and cravats!

Director Tom Hooper’s (“The King’s Speech”) new musical film adaptation of “Les Miserables,” starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried, is coming to theaters this very Christmas day. It’s a tale of war, strife and romance set amid the tumult of 19-century France, where fashion is frilly and tigers come at night.

Some of us were born ready for this, already knowing the story and music by heart (having spent long hours prancing around our childhood bedrooms pretending that we’re in a castle on a cloud…). But if you aren’t part of that “Les Mis”-obsessed crowd, we’re not going to stand by and be all laissez-faire about it. Here are five things you absolutely must do before seeing this film.

Go see the show
The movie is based on the plot and music of the long-running, Tony-award-winning hit musical. It was on Broadway for almost 20 years, and it’s still touring in major cities around the world, so chances are that you can catch it at a theater near you!

Listen to the musical soundtrack
The iconic music carries the plot in the film, leaving very little room for actual dialogue. We guarantee you will recognize some of the most famous ballads like “Do You Hear the People Sing” and “I Dreamed a Dream.” But be forewarned as you sit back and take a listen—it’s super-catchy! We highly recommend using the shower as a concert venue when you become addicted…

Read the book
Nothing will make your holiday vacation more upbeat and refreshing than immersing yourself in a book about the wretched poor of early- to mid-19th century France. But more importantly, reading Victor Hugo’s famous 1862 novel will give you a deeper look at the already-intriguing characters in the movie.

Watch the previous movie adaptation
Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, Geoffrey Rush and Claire Danes brought “Les Miserables” to the big screen in 1998 as a straight, non-musical adaptation of the book. It’s not a feel-good movie by any stretch, but a dashing Liam Neeson as the heroic Jean Valjean does give us stomach butterflies.

Take a taste of Le France
Paris—where a good portion of the film takes place—is lovely. We’re all for recommending you take a trip there, but because it would be a little hard to get to the City of Lights on such short notice, we suggest that you enjoy a fine French meal instead. A little wine (or sparkling grape juice for les enfants), a little cheese, a little bread—a little petit dejeuner will get you in the mood to watch a movie steeped in French history and culture.

Are you excited to see “Les Mis” in theaters over the holiday break? Tell us why in the comments section!