Movie Review: Les Miserables
“Les Miserables” or “Les Mis” is a musical based on the French historical novel, “Les Miserables,” by Victor Hugo. It’s not like Hollywood to do a musical, but hey, they did, and I went to see it. It’s not really fantasy, or even sci-fi, for that matter, but as I’ve said before, it’s my blog, I’ll review what I want to. It’s set in the early nineteenth century in France. The primary focus of the story is the life of Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman), a man imprisoned for 19 years for stealing bread to feed his starving family. The story begins with his release from prison.
A number of other characters appear throughout the film, but all of them relate back to Jean Valjean in some way. There is a very strict, devoted French Inspector (played by Russell Crowe) who haunts Jean’s steps throughout his life, always seeking to throw him back in prison. There is a destitute woman in Jean’s employ in his new life who gets fired, turns to prostitution, then dies (played by Anne Hathaway). Jean goes on to raise her child for her, who grows up and falls in love with a man involved with the burgeoning rebellion.
The above is basically a summary of a summary. The story is too complex to really do it justice in just a paragraph. Overall, I found it quite moving. Jean started out in the pit of misery, but through the strength of his spirit, built a life for himself from nothing (well, actually, from a gift of valuables from a priest) and set himself on the path to redemption. Throughout the film he is constantly proving his worth as a caring, compassionate man, despite the trials and tribulations that beset him. It was actually quite inspiring.
I don’t know if there were any major flaws in the movie, and it probably deserves five stars. It’s definitely a far richer fare than what Hollywood usually serves up. Still, it’s a musical. And I don’t really care for musicals that much… well, that view may be changing because of this movie.
So, anyway, I’ll give this film four and a half stars out of five. But I don’t see that many musicals, so it’s hard for me to judge accurately. Perhaps it really is worthy of five.