I read back in 9th grade, and not long after I my parents took me to see a live performance. While I did enjoy it live, I wanted to watch a movie version of it as well, and couldn't understand how no one had made one. While my 9th grade self can be satisfied now, because they finally did and it more than does the story justice.
I loved the movie, and given the clapping in the theater at the end a lot of other people did as well. But I also overheard one woman say it was the worst movie she'd ever seen, and I've seen a few people complain about it on facebook. If I had to guess, those people had no idea the entire story was told in song (which I didn't the first time I say it). I could imagine that if you didn't know the story it would be hard to follow along, but since that's not me it's hard to tell. If anyone saw the movie and didn't know the story before hand, I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts on this.
To be honest, the main reason I wanted to see the movie was because Leonardo Dicaprio is in it. The boy wanted to see it for other reason, but given the eye candy, I was more than willing. But really, this movie wasn't that bad, and actually was kind of enjoyable.
There were some gory parts that had me cringed. And I don't mean the parts where men were murdered, those were some of the milder parts. But as long as the extreme violence isn't going to get to you, there is actually a nice story in here.
And for fun, since part of this movie were filmed at Evergreen Plantation, here's a photo I took there when I was first moving to Louisiana.
I do think either of these movies are great options, it just depends what you're in the mood to see. And while I'd be willing to watch either one again, Les Mis is the only one of these two I'll want to own one day.