You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe



‘Les Miserables’ sheds a faux tear, in close-up

Perhaps you, too, have joined the hordes that filed into “Les Miserables” in recent weeks, watching human tragedy in a theater with stadium seats. The French street urchins are giving those hobbits a run for their box office money — no surprise, since pain has always had a lot of entertainment value. Victor Hugo published the original book in 1862: a 1,200-page epic of love, crime, and punishment, skewered by most critics but devoured by the public. The musical, long and luscious, was a staple of the ’80s.

A film version was inevitable, and it washes over you nicely; the songs, much to my children’s dismay, are impossible to get out of your head. But there’s a quality to this particular movie, this modern spin on an old wallow, that feels a little uncomfortable. At some point, it turns from suffering-as-entertainment into something more obscene: Suffering porn.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week