The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving ...
See full summary »
The students face heavy casualties at their barricade. Valjean manages to carry away an unconscious Marius through the sewers. At the end of them, he finds Javert waiting for him. Unexpectedly, the ...
The year is 1816, and Napoleon, held prisoner by the British on the island of St. Helena, is telling the young English girl Betsy his life story. His meteoric rise to military prominence ... See full summary »
The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.
The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving nineteen years. At first he only encounter mistrust and closed doors; only the saintly Bishop Bienvenu treats him kindly and takes him in. The bishop's truly Christian compassion and humanity not only restores Jean Valjean's faith in the good, but also smoothes his way back to an orderly life. As Monsieur Madeleine, Valjean is soon a wealthy industrialist and popular citizen, even becoming the mayor of a small provincial town. His good fortune departs, however, when he meets Fantine, one of his workers, an unmarried mother who tragically dies of consumption. The well-intentioned Valjean frees Fantine's illegitimate daughter Cosette from the clutches of her insidious foster parents, and looks after her like a father. When Valjean reveals his true identity in order to prevent an innocent man who closely ...Written by
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.
18 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this