Jean Valjean, a Frenchman imprisoned for stealing bread, must flee a police officer named Javert. The pursuit consumes both men's lives, and soon Valjean finds himself in the midst of the student revolutions in France.Written by
Tim Kearns <email@example.com>
This version concentrates on the story of Valjean and Javert, with less emphasis on the romance between Cosette and Marius. Thénardier, a key character in the novel, appears in just one scene; his daughter, Eponine, is only seen in the background. Many fans of the musical version bemoaned the loss of Eponine and her love triangle with Marius and Cosette. See more »
After Cosette is told by Valjean about his past and they leave the house. Marius goes to the house and starts banging on the door shouting for her. The door is equipped with a Yale lock, not invented until 100 years later. See more »
Not true to the story... but entertaining for superb acting
It is not possible to make a movie out of this marathon Victor Hugo novel (the original version I borrowed from library got around thousand pages and I had to settle for an abridged one) without leaving out some good portions. It is only to see what portions are left out and what are stressed. That depends on the director's or screenwriter's judgement. See Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo" and you'll know what I'm talking about. That movie seemed to be based upon an already abridged version at the first place... such incoherent it was. What audience would appreciate is about making a good film, not following every bits of novel little by little. And that is why "Les Misérables" is a good film. It showed excellently what it showed. What is left out is left out, be it some characters that has no major relation to what the director thought to be the main story or some solitary incidents however interesting they might be.
It's got a nice star-studded cast. Geoffrey Rush is magnificent as Inspector Javert. If I am to stress one aspect of his totally excellent acting it would be his accent. I just loved it. Rush brought that vintage English accent instead of the expected French accent, that's I think became more suitable. Liam Neeson is an acting genius and I would place this one perhaps as his third best, behind "Schindler's List" and "Michael Collins" of course. He is definitely the obvious choice for such type of lead roles. The two main young characters of the film are played nicely by Claire Danes and Hans Matheson. Danes acted up to the standard of this film's allover acting level, which is quite good. Although somehow I feel Uma Thurman is a poor choice for Fantine. Her acting was not up to that level.
There are around 15-odd screen versions of Les Misérables including TV movies etc. The French production of 1982 by Robert Hossein was good and was definitely longer and more detailed than this. Many would disagree but I think this one by Bille August is better than that. Call it vulgar Hollywoodisation of old classics but still it's a worthy film on its own right, perhaps due to superb casting.
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