Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this all-star version of Les Miserables is an adaptation of the world-famous stage musical, which itself is based on Victor Hugo's classic 1862 novel. Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway star in the gritty, often-heartbreaking tale of justice, duty, love, and revolution. The film deals with abject poverty, prostitution, imprisonment, corruption, war, and death; all of which fans of the musical will be expecting -- but bringing the story to the screen means it has a much more realistic feel (despite the fact that the actors sing virtually all of the dialogue). Characters suffer painful beatings, degrade themselves out of desperation, engage in gun and bayonet fights, claw their way through unspeakable filth, and more. Expect some bawdy lyrics/references (with a sprinkling of curse words, including one "s--t"), a very sad scene in which an unwilling prostitute "entertains" a client, plenty of cleavage, some blood, and a few very sad deaths (including one suicide). But ultimately, Les Miserables is about the redemptive power of love and faith, and there are many moments of hope and beauty amid the miserable ones.
Some bawdy scenes/references, especially in a few scenes that feature prostitutes and a brothel. One scene shows a prostitute being used by a client (her skirt is up; he's on top of her); it isn't erotic or revealing. Lots of cleavage; lyrics include phrases like "ready for a quick one or a thick one in the park" and "thinks he's quite a lover, but there's not much there."
Much of the second half of the film focuses on the June Rebellion, a Paris uprising in 1832; there are many battle scenes that include gunfights, cannons, explosions, hand-to-hand combat with bayonets and fists, and plenty of dramatic, sad deaths (even children are involved). Because it's a musical, the violence is more play-like than realistic, and there's not much blood or gore (though one post-battle scene does show a stream of blood running down the cobblestone pavement), but it feels much grittier than the stage production. There are also some nasty beatings and a bone-crunching suicide leap. A woman prostitutes herself out of desperation; the scene is brutal and heart-wrenching. She scuffles with a potential client and bites him (a little blood is shown).
Almost all the dialogue is sung, with very little profanity, but there are a couple of uses of words including "s--t" (once), "bitch," "ass," "hell," "damn," and "bastard." Other songs have some sexual references and mentions of whores.
The story's ultimate take-away is about the redemptive power of faith and love -- of God and/or of another person. And it raises thoughtful questions about the nature of justice, power, and duty. That said, many of the characters live truly miserable lives, and good deeds are rarely rewarded. But Jean Valjean does seek to do the right thing and to care for others, even though it might cost him his freedom. And Marius and his cohorts are motivated by passion and dedication to an ideal, even if things don't go the way they planned.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Several scenes feature people drinking wine, including one set at an inn that's filled with drunken patrons.