Les Mis - it may be good but why is it a 12?

(34 Posts)
Clary Wed 20-Feb-13 23:18:59

I went with DD who is nearly 12yo and likes musicals. I think she enjoyed it actually tho we both found it a bit slow - if they had spoken instead of singing everything it would have been an hour less!! wink - but I was quite shocked by the content.

I am not complaining in an outraged way that DD was subjected to this as I had read around it a bit and had a chat to her; but I am still amazed that it was the same certificate as The Hobbit or Avatar with the genuinely shocking content. Does no-one else think a 15 cert would have been more appropriate?

DSM Wed 20-Feb-13 23:21:50

Really? What did you think was shocking?

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:23:25

i saw it and dont think there is anything very gratuitous in it - yes it refers to prostitution - but you dont get anything graphic - its not overtly sexual or violent so i dont see anything wrong with the 12 cert. Surely you knew the content before seeing? its not much of a secret....

ive seen 15 certs much much worse.

Clary Wed 20-Feb-13 23:25:44

A girl having her hair savagely shorn off, her teeth pulled out then becoming a prostitute, all of that scene really, horrid horrid (I do understand that the subject of the novel is not exactly sweetness and light!) also the Master of the House song, very funny for adults but HBC shagging Santa isn't quite what I expected. I wasn't even so bothered about a 7yo getting shot and a gutter running with blood tbh. It was the Fantine scenes that were so grim.

My kids are all about the age where they want to see 12s and by and large can (nearly 10, 11, 13yo) but this was a bit much.

pinkteddy Wed 20-Feb-13 23:26:02

I know what you mean, I presume its the scene with Fantine and her client. It is quite shocking in comparison to the stage musical, her prostitution is more implied (although its a while since I've seen it on stage).

Clary Wed 20-Feb-13 23:27:14

Yes I knew the content to some extent, I am not annoyed for DD, she wasn't that bothered, but I would classify it as a 15. Spiderman was a 12A. Not quite in the same league IMO. I thought it was really graphic in its refs to prostitution tbh.

Maybe just me then.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:30:14

but thats the story! fantine gets shit on from a great height and thats why john valjean ends up bringing up her daughter.....surely you knew this before seeing it?

i dont think it was gratuitous or violent - but depicts her situation. i cant see how else they could have done that really?? poverty forces her into prostitution - thats the story!

pinkteddy Wed 20-Feb-13 23:31:13
RegularVoltaire Wed 20-Feb-13 23:31:56

I agree clary.

Although I think there should be a 12 classification ... not just 12A.

I took my 13yo and she loved it. It would have been way too much for my 10yo. Some of the scenes were far too grim.

BrittaPerry Wed 20-Feb-13 23:32:50

I had the same thoughts, not that thy should have changed the film, but that it should have been a higher rating.

pinkteddy Wed 20-Feb-13 23:34:00

Yes but vicar the film is quite brutual in its portrayal whereas other versions of the same story aren't. If you're a lover of the stage show for example - you might find it quite shocking. My parents have seen the stage show many times but were quite shocked by the film. They did enjoy it though.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 20-Feb-13 23:34:01

I sort of agree

Dd is 11 and has watched some 12 films - Star Wars revenge if Sith. Batman. Hairspray and dh says she can see Skyfall but not Les Mis despite her being a total musical theatre nut.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:40:47

i think its a bit silly - no i have not seen the stage show. but getting knickers in a twist over this? i thought it was tame. the story is tragic - the situations are tragic - so the only problem is that a young woman is forced into prostitution and dies but the whole thing with the poverty around the french is ok...that fact people are dying of hunger, the fact people are trying to start a revolution because the situation is so so dire is all ok because it doesnt involve a whiff of hush sex?

the whole story is harrowing.

dont see it if you dont like that - i went to see it with a completely open mind as i didnt know the story - hadnt seen the stage show - didnt quite know what to expect. went with someone who has now seen it 4 times and had seen the stage show and thought it 10x better.

horses for courses i guess.

i enjoyed it. i found it sad and uplifting - but the fact fantine is forced into prostituion is surely nothing new? nothing unseen before?

BOF Wed 20-Feb-13 23:42:21

I vividly recall having to plead with my mum to allow me to attend the cinema with my fifteen year old friends (my birthday was late in the school year, so I was still 14) to see Crocodile Dundee, because it was a cert.15. grin

As far as I can tell, it obliquely referenced street prostitutes, a transsexual, and Paul Hogan said once that bush tucker tasted like 'shit'. I'm still puzzled why you'd have to be 15 to see that.

In contrast, we used to gaily warble along to the songs of Grease as under-tens, and that film has some decidedly dubious bits.

I think Les Mis was fine as a 12.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:43:09

i think the classification is fine btw. it shows nothing other than the brutality of people and of the time it is set.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:44:45

X posts bof!

i wouldnt mind my DD seeing it - but at 15 she is wayyyy too cool to go to the cinema with me.

BOF Wed 20-Feb-13 23:47:50

Dd1(16) came with me and my mum the first time I saw it, Vicar. She was way too cool to cry though grin. I think that you have to be old enough to have had a few knocks to really appreciate it. That said, she went again with her mates, and told me that a few of them sobbed all the way through.

I don't think being grim is a sufficient reason to bump a film up from 12A to 15.

My shock 12 certificate was Last of the Mohicans <shows age> - someone is burnt alive in fairly graphic detail (although eventually put out of his misery by a bullet).

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:49:03

i cried. twice.

but i went with a group of OAPS so i dont care! we all had the tissues out!

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 20-Feb-13 23:50:07

It's not that it is grim, it's graphic in its portrayal of Fantines downfall.

Fabulous film though.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:55:28

isnt kickass a 15? way more gratuitous than les mis at a 12....and yet i would bet seen by more kids under 15 than les mis!

Clary Wed 20-Feb-13 23:58:35

Not sure vicar why I should know the story of the film before seeing it actually! confused my bad having neither read the book nor seen the stage show before!

I do udnerstand (as I have said) that the story is not nice; the story of Reservoir Dogs is not nice either, but it's a fantastic film IMO; I would be shocked to see it rated a 12 tho, which is my point!! (not saying that their content is similar btw).

"the whole story is harrowing."

This. That makes it not a 12A ie something you might reasonably take a 9-10yo to IME. I didn't take a 9yo btw and I am not annoyed by the film (well I am but for other reasons!) but I just found its classification odd. I see that idmb (useful link from someone on another thread, thanks!) suggests it is more suitable for 13-14yos, I would agree I guess.

If I don't like it then I will say I didn't enjoy it - I don't ask too unsee it that would be hard confused

Agree re Grease BoF, totally shocking that it is a PG!

Clary Thu 21-Feb-13 00:01:52

Sorry about typos clearly getting late smile

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 21-Feb-13 00:04:28

I think the classification is right too. It's a PG13 here, which means I could take the younger kids but never would. It's only the prostitute scene that's really bad, but so sums up the utter misery, I'm glad it's in it.

But if it's suitable for 13-14yos, should it really be a 15?

I think the problem is that 12A signifies both "a film that should be OK for 12/13/14yos to see" and "a film that it's OK for any child to see when accompanied by an adult" when those are not the same thing. I think our certificates should be overhauled yet again.

(but given that our current system is designed to leave a lot to parental discretion, giving this film a certificate that relies on parental discretion to not take younger children is appropriate)

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 21-Feb-13 00:07:05

to be fair i didnt know the story either blush but thought i was in the minority!

still - i do think the classification is fine - its not gratuitous or overtly violent - the camera moves away when her hair is cut and same when she has her teeth pulled....
it comes back when she is basically at rock bottom and sings i dreamed a dream....
but i dont personally have a problem with the classification. i think films are classified on not what is considered taboo but on how graphic things are and what the content is - its obvious she falls into prostitution but its a very small part of the film, and i dont see why that should be any higher classified really - the one sex scene is very tame, fully clothed and just illustrates what she has been driven too,
if you didnt think it suitable for a 12 yr old then dont take your 12 yr old....personally i think my DD would have coped with it at 12.

i think DD watched Juno at around the same age. She coped with that just fine too.

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 21-Feb-13 00:08:28

Also, I wish people would stop going on about the stage show. This is the movie and they're completely different. They just have the same songs.

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 21-Feb-13 00:09:20

Vicar, I love Juno.

Clary Thu 21-Feb-13 00:15:58

Yes Tolliver that is the thing.

There are films that are reasonable as a 12A ie "you can take your 9yo to see this but be aware there may be nasty bits" and others which are reasonable as "hmm this is only really OK for an 11-12-13-14 yo" but really only a 12A is a fair cert for that too! Can't say a film is OK for a 12yo and make it a 15, I agree.

I guess I have been watching 12As for a while now with my DC and I was just surprised.

Clary Thu 21-Feb-13 00:17:58

Harry Potter for example, there is nothing very terrible in any of those apart from Emma whatnot's abysmal overacting. Even the scenes with Voldemort are mainly creepy rather than age-inappropriate. Certainly DS2 who was 8 at the time saw the last one at the movies and I had no qualms as I sat with him (he has a strong stomach tho). There is no way I would want an 8yo t see Les Mis.

Startail Thu 21-Feb-13 01:06:40

I think the problem is a 12 cert. is unworkable, 15 year olds can get on a and go to the cinema by themselves my 14yo and her 15 yo BF do.

I wouldn't let DD2 and her friend do the same trip.

If Mum goes, younger siblings tend to tag along too. Given 2-3 year age gaps, I think you inevitably get parents with 9-13yos, who want to see the same things.

It's a farce anyway as 12-15 yo don't have ID.

nailak Thu 21-Feb-13 01:15:13

I remember when i was 12 Mre Doubtfire was a 12a, not exactly in the same league as les mis is it? Maybe what we see as appropriate for 12 year olds to watch has changed?

I did see the stage show when I was around 13, and although most of it went over my head, I found it an incredible experience.

therontheron Fri 22-Feb-13 13:21:53

I don't think its a 12A film because of that scene where the man is on top of her when she's a prostitute.

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