Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russel Crow, Amanda Seyfried, and Helena Bonham Carter
This musical is based on the 1862 novel by author Victor Hugo and translates as “the miserable ones.” The story line is very gripping and complex. It is about the life of a convict named Jean Valjean who is finally released on parole after a being sentenced to nineteen years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. Once released on parole, no one will have anything to do with a convict. After being rejected by many, Valjean is taken in by a Bishop. He steals the bishop’s silver and leaves. The police catch him and accuse him of stealing. When they bring him before the bishop, the bishop insists that the silver was a gift and hands Valjean two candle sticks that were ‘left behind’. After Valjean is released, he is struck by the grace the Bishop gave him. He decides to break his parole and change his identity. Valjean is determined to do some good with his life. One of his parole officers, Javert, vows to find Valjean and put him back in prison for breaking his parole.
Years later Valjean lives happily under his new identity as mayor of the town Montreuil-sur-Mer. He is well known for his acts of kindness including the care he took for one of his factory workers Fantine. When Valjean finds Fantine, she has been fired from her job for having an illigitimate daughter. Fantine is desperate to make money to send to her daughter so she falls into prositution as well as selling her teeth and hair. Not only does Valjean care for the dying Fantine, but he promises to find her daughter Cosette who is being taken care of by a couple known as the Thenardiers. Around the same time, Javert comes to the town. When Valjean turns himself in after hearing that another man has been convicted in his place, Javert is after Valjean once again. Valjean finds Cosette as he promised Fantine and then flees to find a new identity once again.
The movie continues as the revolution is rising. What will happen to France as the people seek rebellion? Also will Valjean be able to find a place to hide from Javert? What will happen to Cosette as she grows up in hiding? I won’t go any further as to not spoil the whole show.
I absolutely loved this movie. I have always been a huge fan of Hugo’s novel because of the power of his story. I couldn’t believe the acting and singing. The fact that the singing was all recorded live was incredible. Anne Hathaway was amazing. Yes, the story is long, but it is such a beautiful story of grace and second chances. The ending line of the movie sums up the entire story: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”