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|Index||16 reviews in total|
I have read this novel several times and I was stunned that some of you
found this a faithful version. I am referring to the miniseries that
aired in the US with Depardieu and Malkovich. Maybe the French version
- twice as long? - is more true to the novel, but the version we saw
here was shockingly distorted.
Yes - all of the characters were there, but their roles were often twisted beyond recognition. One GLARING example: Eponine. If you have read the novel, you know that she is one of the most heroic characters, sacrificing herself for Marius. Did I miss something here? They turn her into one of the villains. Gavroche's role is also misrepresented. If they were going to take all that time, why not do it as Hugo wrote it? It is also very odd to make Cosette the narrator, as she is deliberately one of the weaker, more insipid characters in the novel. And Valjean was never in love with Cosette. He is genuinely an adoptive father.
Depardieu is beautifully cast as Valjean, but John Malkovich (I'm a fan, too) plays Javert as if he were simply mean - with none of the nuances of the tortured character that Geoffrey Rush portrays. The 1998 Bille August film is by far the superior interpretation, despite what he leaves out. And the musical theater version is the best of all, faithful to both the plot and spirit of Hugo's masterpiece.
Not a bad series-adaptation of a classic piece of literature at all, not as good as the 1934 and 1935 films(I remember Anthony Perkins' version being better as well) but better than those with Michael Rennie and Liam Neeson. On the most part, while far from perfect, it is actually good. There are parts where the direction is choppy and things look too clean and perfect, the relationship between Cosette and Marius could have been less bland and while Valjean and Cosette are very convincing father-daughter figures the love for each other did seem a little too strong and loving at times. There's also one miscast and one mixed bag. The miscast was Enrico Lo Verso as Marius, people have said he's too old and it is true but that he is very stiff and almost too creepy is more of a problem. John Malkovich's Javert was a mixed bag, he has the authority, upholding-the-law-attitude, determination and the cold-bloodedness but he can come across as too subdued, too stoic(some of his line delivery is rather monotonous) and with not enough of the tortured soul that Javert becomes later. On the other hand, it is beautifully shot and has lavish and mostly authentic costumes and sets. Jean-Claude Petit's scoring underlines the tension and poignancy of the drama with ease without over-emphasising them, while the scripting is literate and with the spirit of Victor Hugo's writing coming through and the story has the emotional power, pathos, hope and tension that it should. There are alterations and reduced screen-time for characters(Eponine), but you feel Fantine's tragic plight as well as Gavroche's death and the ending is both powerful and affecting, that there's the inclusion of Gillenormand- a character that has been neglected before- is an extra plus. The series is a good length, the book is mammoth so a long length is a good idea, and the pacing takes its time to develop like the storytelling in the book without being too stillborn. The rest of the cast are fine, especially Gerard Depardieu(despite having perhaps a too imposing a physique) as a Valjean where the nobility, magnetism, charisma and tragic grandeur is completely realised and in a way that we feel it too. And also Charlotte Gainsburg as one of the most moving Fantines you'll ever find. Virgine Ledoyen is a beautiful and loyal Cosette without being like a waif, spoiled brat or window-dressing. Asia Argento while underused is indeed an Eponine you feel pity and contempt for, and Christian Clavier is menacing and funny as Thernadier(Veronica Ferres matches him very well as his wife if too on the pretty side). Overall, has problems but on the most part it is good. 7/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having finally seen the musical last week, I got around to watching the
3 hour edit tonight with my wife (she's seen the musical three or four
times now, and neither of us have read the book).
This was good. It was reassuring to note that both this and the musical are similar enough that they must both be reasonable adaptations of the very long novel. Depardieu conveyed Valjean's power very well, and Malkovich gave us Javert's single mindedness, although it wasn't obvious how fundamentally Valjean's action in freeing him had undermined everything he held at his core. Christian Clavier's Thenardier was vile, and Virginie Ledoyen's Cosette had much more to her than in the musical, where she is such a cipher that she must be a fairly thankless role to play.
The period feel is good, but I must confess to encountering some difficulty in negotiating the French accents of some of the principals.
This is probably the closest version of the book, because: 4 parts, all written apart, every single line of the characters are shown. Probably Departieu and Malkovich were the magnets to get to see the movie. Other wise COOL! Cant say anything bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all, I have seen only some parts of the last episode and also some small parts of other episodes (more then it deserves). I also read the novel. Where shall I start? The writing is just horribly ridiculous and unrealistic (for example: Valjean tells Cosette that Marius was wounded in the barricade, and all she seems to care about is that Valjean finally accepted him), the acting of ALL the actors, except for the guy who portrays Gillenormand, is terrible (especially John Malkovich as Javert and Depardieu (spl?) as Valjean, with his one face expression), the characters have turned into something very weird (Valjean is in love with Cosette?! 'Ponine sleeps with Marius?! Cosette turns into a spoiled brat who wants to dance?! I'm sure that Hugo is turning in his grave...), the whole thing is full of plot holes (Gavroche never ages, the Thenardiers wearing nice cloths, Javert hears the "Vive la republic" and does nothing) and why the hell is Gavroche Marius' best friend?! and 'Ponine tells the gang to rob Cosette's house? and why do everyone call her "'Ponine" for God sakes?! This is probably because their source materials were the musical and some sick fanfiction. This is probably the worst adaptation I've ever seen. The only good thing I can think of is the setting and the costumes (and Gillenormand, who usually is kept out of adaptations).
This was an amazing adaptation, with a few things that were missing. I
agree with the first review that Marius looked way too old, and the
other is that in every adaptation of the book, they never give Eponine
enough screen time. She wasn't even a character in the version with
Claire Danes. Yes, she is a character in this version, but they don't
show her death and proclamation of love for Marius. It's one of the
most heart-wrenching scenes in the book, and I was disappointed that
it's never shown in any of the movies. The musical got it right though.
I liked this version a lot though and wish they would air it again. Les Miserables is one favorite books and timeless story of love, forgiveness and revolution.
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