For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
Critics reviews
Les misérables
Ladj Ly France, 2019
Ly, the son of Malian immigrants, has absorbed La Haine (1995) as much as Hugo in making this assured first feature, a neorealist exposé that begins and ends in rioting.
April 26, 2020
Read full article
Ladj Ly has always used his camera to make sense of the immediate and concrete reality he lived in by documenting and interrogating it tirelessly. As such, the director’s late blooming success since the film’s premiere at Cannes last May feels somehow like justice, the reward for a relentless endurance.
January 15, 2020
Read full article
“Les Misérables” is a gripping experience, tense and upsetting, showing how seemingly small events, perhaps manageable in the particulars, can balloon into something out of control, like a fire exploding into a conflagration.
January 10, 2020
Read full article
Between scenes of harrowing violence, Ly lingers on fleeting moments of pure, unadulterated joy experienced by the children, granting them a radical visibility—and also delaying the narrative-propelling action just a beat too long in the process. After a pivotal altercation, however, the heat ratchets skyward to a heart-stopping finish.
January 03, 2020
Read full article
Ly shows command of staging and shooting throughout, simulating documentary form while maintaining a tight grip on narrative coherence.
November 28, 2019
Read full article
Like the similarly explosive Do the Right Thing, Les Misérables has surreal moments verging on comedy that heighten the sense of unpredictable brutality rather than distract from it.
September 04, 2019
Read full article
A timely evocation of banlieue unrest within an otherwise by-the-numbers policier.
May 31, 2019
Read full article
Though there’s plenty of grit, Ly laces his film with humour and an infectious joy at the sight of kids playing in the streets, while also subverting pernicious stereotypes of minority communities.
May 21, 2019
Read full article
The director, Ladj Ly, has a strong sense of place and some terrific young actors, but he also leans on narrative clichés.
May 16, 2019
Read full article
For all its familiarity, Ly’s film is executed with enormous confidence and energy, building up to an apocalyptic ending that delivers on a gradual build-up of nervous tension.
May 15, 2019
Read full article