Yesterday the family went to see the new film version of Les Miserables, with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe et al. I can see why critics dislike it, but I found it quite engaging. Yes, Russell Crowe approaches singing the way some Americans approach making themselves understood in a foreign country– if the cabbie doesn’t understand you, just yell your destination, and your words will be magically translated– and the close-up style that worked so well in The King’s Speech takes a little getting used to.

But the movie is every bit as manipulative and heart-tugging as the play, Tom Hooper can be sweeping and bold when the scene calls for it (some of his shots of Paris and Javert singing from rooftops reminded me of Gore Verbinski), Amanda Seyfried and Samantha Barks were terrific, and the film did the musical justice.