17 January 2013 1:18 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Every showtune rendered in grubby closeup does not a historically accurate film make. Just which French Revolution are we talking about here?

Les Misérables (2012)

Director: Tom Hooper

Entertainment grade: C

History grade: C

The June rebellion of 1832 was an uprising in Paris against the rule of King Louis-Philippe, fuelled by economic hardship and a cholera epidemic. It was quashed, and is remembered mainly for its inclusion in Victor Hugo's 1862 novel, Les Misérables.

People

The film begins with Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) completing 19 years of hard labour: the penalty for stealing bread and repeatedly trying to escape. His overseer is the unrelenting Javert (Russell Crowe). Les Misérables was inspired in part by the true story of Eugène-François Vidocq, who turned a criminal career into an anti-crime industry. He created the Bureau des Renseignements, said to be the world's first detective agency, in 1833, though he himself continued to be pursued by police. »

- Alex von Tunzelmann

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