Posted in books, films & DVD, music

Les Miserables

lesmisI have recently watched the fantastic latest film version ofLes Miserables again. Described as a feast for the eyes and ears, it overflows with humour, heartbreak, heroism, rousing action and ravishing romance and  is adapted from Victor Hugo’s massive 1862 novel spun around the 1832 Paris student uprising and the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg,

The film starts when a Frenchman named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released from Toulon prison by Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) after spending 19 years imprisoned for stealing . The Bishop of Digne offers the convict food and shelter, and saves his life when he is caught stealing the bishop’s silver. Deciding to start a new life, Valjean breaks his parole.Eight years later, Valjean has become a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer. Fantine (Anne Hathaway), one of his workers, is discovered by her coworkers to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). When she is dismissed by the foreman, Fantine is forced to become a prostitute. However During an argument with an abusive customer, Javert, now a police inspector in Montreuil, arrests Fantine, but Valjean takes her to a hospital and promises a dying Fantine he will care for Cosette. After a brief confrontation with Javert, Valjean flees and paysgruesome  innkeeperMadame Thénardier (Helena Bonham Carter) and her dodgy husband  (Sacha Baron Cohen) to take Cosette in and raise her.Sadly though they mistreat Cosette while indulging their own destitute  daughter, Éponine (Samantha Barks).

Nine years later, Paris is in turmoil because Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the only man in the government who shows any sympathy for the poor, is nearing death. So a street urchin named Gavroche, (12-year-old Daniel Huttlestone) incites the prostitutes and beggars to take action, while a student revolutionary and young firebrand named Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne)and his friend Enjolras (Aaron Tveit)organize a group of idealistic students to protest against the Governments treatment of the poor. While organising the protest Marius becomes friends with the Thenardiers’ daughter, Éponine, then he meets Cosette and they fall in love.

Later The Thénardiers gang are prevented from robbing Valjean and Cosettes ‘s house by Javert, who does not recognise Valjean until after he escapes.  Valjean refuses to tell Cosette about his past or Fantine and decides to flee Paris with Cosette. Later, Éponine laments that her love for Marius will never be reciprocated as he joins the other students who are preparing for the upcoming conflict; while Javert briefs his soldiers as he reveals his plans to spy on the students.With the June Rebellion underway, the students interrupt Lamarque’s funeral and begin their assault on the army. They build a barricade when Javert, disguised as one of the rebels, volunteers to “spy” on the government troops. When Javert lies that the government will attack the next morning, he is exposed as a spy. Éponine, mortally wounded, returns to the barricades and professes her love for Marius before her death. Valjean, searching for Marius in the barricades, saves Enjolras. Despite being allowed to execute Javert, Valjean tells the inspector that he is not in his debt. As the students reminisce for the night, Valjean prays to God to save Marius from the oncoming assault.Although most Parisians have abandoned the rebels, Enjolras resolves to fight on, however When Gavroche is killed, Enjolras and the students realize they could end up paying a heavy price if they ignore the final warning to surrender…

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