I’ve heard about this novel from a long time but never really intrigued to read it. As my friend said, read and me, can’t be put in the same line (rolling my eyes). So, last Friday, my church friend asked me to go watch the movie together and I said yes. Though traffic was a pain that Friday, we managed to go in to the movie just around 15 minutes late.
As I had my so called ‘dinner’ (french fried, hot dogs and a ice tea), I really got amazed watching the whole movie. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see it live on Broadway. It’s like seeing an elegant and classic version of ‘Bollywood’. No, there are no a group of people dancing, pillars, vibrant colors of costumes, and elaborate singing. For those of you who like music, singing, romance, and drama, this is the movie for you. For those of you who prefer more action, comedy, those fast storyline, you might fall asleep watching this one. When the movie started, not long after that, a bunch of people went out from the cinema. I was like, ‘what’s wrong with you?’ and after the movie ended, i heard a girl said to her friend that she almost fell asleep.
Les Miserables, a musical movie, is a story about fight, love, hope and dream. Written by Victor Hugo in 1862, the French historical novel considered one of the greatest novel in 19th century. Les Miserables means ‘The Miserables, The Wrenched, The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, or The Victims.”
The story is focusing on a life of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a convict who steal five breads for his starving sister and her family was released from 19 years imprisonment. But after his release, a ruthless policeman name Javert hunt Jean Valjean down because he break his parole. He sleeps on the street, try to find a job but doesn’t succeeded because his yellow passport marks him as an ex-convict. He was angry and bitter towards life. One day, Valjean walks into an abbey and meet Bishop Myriel. Myriel gives me food to eat and a place to sleep. After everyone asleep, Valjean takes Myriel’s silverware. He take everything. But then police catch Valjean and bring him back to the abbey. Myriel not surprise at all by Valjean’s action. Instead, Myriel assured Valjean and the police that he forget to take the two candlesticks with him as if Myriel give those things to him. The police confused but then left the abbey, Myriel continues and tells Valjean that his life has been spared for God, that he should use all the silverware that he took to make an honest man of himself and live for God. He cried and told God that from that moment on, there is no more Jean Valjean. He is gonna start his life anew. That means that he needs to disappeared and make a new identity for himself.
Later, Jean Valjean known as Monsieur Madeleine, is a wealthy factory owner and is appointed as a mayor of a town. Fantine (Anne Hathaway) works in the factory own by Valjean before his foreman fire her because all of the gossip among the women who work there. In desperation to send money to support her daughter, Cosette who lives with a thief-motel owner, the Thenardiers (Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen) and their daughter Eponine (Natalya Angel Wallace), Fantine sell her daughter locket, her beautiful hair, tooth and with no option left, becomes a prostitute. When a man wants to ‘use’ Fantine and become abusive, she defend herself and hurt the man. Then Fantine is arrested by Javert but is saved by Valjean. He take her to a hospital and promise her to take care of Cosette. Fantine died. Again, Javert who then knew who the real Monsieur Madeleine is, make an oath to himself to hunt Valjean and to put him back to jail. Valjean is lucky to be escaped from Javert. After he find Cosette and pays the Thenardies to allow him to take her, he promise Cosette to be like a papa to her. The Thenardies play by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. I kinda like Helena’s quirky acting, but when Sacha came out. Oh boy, I turn him off already. It’s like he ruin the movie by being there. Ugh.
Anyway, years later, the movie is set to a French revolution where General Lamarque, a government official who care for the poor is dying. Students, makes protests and trying to make a revolution. Among them are Marius and Enjolras. With the help with street pick pocket, Gavroche, discuss to rebel towards the government, to make a revolution. At that time, Cosette and Eponine, both are young women. Cosette, become a rich young woman because of Valjean and Eponine is the same, become a poor girl with her parents as thief. On that day, Marius and Cosette, catches glimpse and instantly falls in love with her. Now, Eponine falls in love with Marius too and the two become friends. Marius then ask Eponine to find where Cosette live and she then lead Marius to Cosette. Marius and Cosette then introduce themselves and profess their love to each other. Now the Thenardies, just about to rob Valjean house, but Eponine protect them. Mistakenly thinking that Javert has found Valjean, he immediately flees with Cosette. Cosette, leave a letter to Marius at the gate of her house which was found by Eponine. She keep the letter by herself.
Eponine realize that her secret love to Marius will never be come true, looking how Marius love Cosette so much. She then disguise herself as a guy to join the revolution, just to be near Marius. On the day that Lamarque’s funeral on procession, the students begin their revolution. When the army attack the students’ barricade, Eponine got shot and that’s when Marius realize that she’s there. She then give Cosette’s letter to him.
Javert, being a good soldier, offer himself to be the spy for the revolutionist. But Gavroche discover who he is and tell all of them that he is a policeman. They tie Javert and beat him. Valjean came to the barricade, thinking that he needs to have Marius’ back for Cosette. He offer Marius and friends to kill Javert. After all the explanation that he need to put it out to Javert, he ask him to run and shot somewhere else just so the revolutionist know that he kill Javert. The next morning, all the windows and doors are closed and the army invade the barricade, Marius got shot. Valjean, then save him and bring him to Cosette. Along the way, they meet Javert again. Valjean promise him, that he just need another hour before he turn himself in to prison again. He just need to bring Marius to Cosette. Javert, can’t bear to say no after what Valjean did to him. He let Valjean go and then kill himself.
Eventually, on the day Marius and Cosette got married, Valjean has a moment with Marius and tell him who he really is. He make Marius promise that he will not tell Cosette about it. Marius made the promise. Although Cosette was upset that her papa didnt come to the wedding reception and have to leave, she try to enjoy it not until the Thenardies come. They try to tell Marius who Cosette really is and while they’re doing it, they picking the rich people’s jewelries, everything that they can reach. But Thenardier using Marius’ ring when he and Valjean fall into the gutter. That’s when Marius knew, that Valjean saved him. He then bring Cosette to meet Valjean to the abbey where the old Valjean sitting waiting to die.
I can’t imagine how they many singing practice that they have (except Hugh Jackman who was born to sing and act). The notes are difficult to remember and from what i read, they doing it live when they sing it. They don’t lipsync.
Les Miserables, it’s a classic movie about (in my opinion) second chance. How the priest giving second chance to Valjean to become a better man, because of it, he help the unfortunate and help Fantine’s daughter to have a better life. How Valjean, also give a second chance to Javert to become a nice policeman and how Javert finally give Valjean his freedom. It is about faith and hope of Valjean, that he must be true to himself and other for who he really is. It is about love and dream of Marius and Cosette. Also, there is no such word as too young to fight for your country.
“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!”