Why We Love Les Misérables

Les Mis is the best movie I have seen in a very long time. It started off with prisoners doing slave work and pulling ropes. At the end of that scene, Jean Valjean, the protagonist, gets freed from jail after nineteen years. Javert, the police officer that told him he was free, warned Jean Valjean that he would always be a criminal and that he would have to report in his location every month. Jean Valjean then tried to steal from a priest who was being nothing but kind to him. The police caught Jean Valjean and when they asked where he got all the silver, Jean Valjean lied and said the priest had given it to him. When the priest was questioned about it, not only did he say that he had given the silver to Jean Valjean, but he also added in two candlesticks. From that moment on Jean Valjean realizes that he has become a real criminal, and since God saved him, Jean Valjean decides to give his life to God. Hugh Jackman, the actor who plays Jean Valjean, gives a very heartfelt performance “What Have I Done?” that brought many tears to my eyes. This was in my opinion one of the best moments of the movie. The singing was amazing and it felt like it was beyond acting, it felt like it was real.

Summary: After Jean Valjean breaks parole, he creates a new and honest life. He adopts Cosette, the daughter of a single mother, and vows to protect her, which proves difficult during the French Revolution.

Genre: A dramatic musical.

Gore: Not a gory movie, but a couple of battle scenes with many deaths. One character commits suicide.

Character List: Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is the main character, who starts as a criminal, but becomes the owner of a company and the mayor. Javert (Russell Crowe) is an officer who devotes his life to finding and locking up Jean Valjean. Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is a factory worker who gives her child to Jean Valjean. Cosette (Amanda Seyfried, Isabelle Allen) is Fantine’s daughter who is brought up by Jean Valjean. Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a drunken shopkeeper who used to pretend to take care of Cosette, and only cares about money. Madame Thénardier (Helena Bonham Carter) is his wife, who also only cares about money. Marius (Eddie Redmayne) is one of the leaders of the French Revolution and falls in love with Cosette. Enjolas (Aaron Tveit) Is Marius’s best friend who fights in the French Revolution. Époninde (Samantha Barks, Natalya Wallace) is Thénardier’s daughter who is in love with Marius. Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) is a child street urchin who fights for the French Revolution.

Caution: Spoilers Ahead 

Plot: Jean Valjean steals bread for his starving nephew and spends 19 years in jail.  Javert releases him on parole. He is homeless and must find shelter, so he goes to a church/ Convent and meets the Bishop (Colm Wilkson). He steals all the silver from the Bishop and leaves at night. He is caught by the cops, and is taken back to the Bishop. He says that the Bishop has given him the silver, even though he has stolen it. The Bishop says he has given him the silver. The cops leave and the Bishop tells him to use the silver to become a good man. Valjean rips up his parole agreement shouting, “Jean Valjean is Dead.”

Montreuil 8 years later

Jean Valjean has bought a new identity and has become a mayor and proprietor. He runs into Javert for the first time. He expects Javert to arrest him immediately, but is shocked to see that Javert is his soldier. Javert sees Valjean lift a cart off a man and immediately recognizes him as Valjean, but says nothing. Meanwhile Fantine is working in the factory that Valjean owns, but is thrown out on the street when they discover she has a child, and isn’t married. When Cosette falls ill, Fantine must make money by selling her teeth and hair and doing many other desperate things for money to support her daughter. She is discovered by Valjean, and he brings her to a hospital. Javert confronts Valjean and apologizes for mistaking him for Valjean. Valjean goes to the hearing of the fake Valjean and confesses that he is the Real Valjean. Javert goes after him and finds him in Fantines hospital. She dies, her last wish being that Valjean take care of Cosette. Valjean and Javert get in a fight and Valjean flees. He goes to the innkeeper, Thénardier, and buys Cosette and they flee to Paris. Javert vows to find and lock up Valjean.

Paris 9 years later

Marius and Enjorlas are leading a rally against the French government, outside of General LeMarque’s house (The People’s General), and Gavroche is wreaking little kid havoc on the rich people. A grown-up Époninde is in love with Marius. Marius sees a grown-up Cosette and Valjean, and he immediately falls in love with Cosette. Javert shows up and Valjean flees. Thénardier, is quick to jump up and offer himself as a victim for Valjean’s crime of ‘Stealing Cosette.’ Marius asks Époninde to find out where Cosette lives for him. That night, Enjorlas is rallying the people in a café. Someone notices that Marius is out of it. They learn he is in love with this ‘Mystery Girl.’ Gavroche bursts in saying that General LeMarque is dead. Enjorlas starts to plan the start of the revolution at General LeMarques memorial the next day. Eponinde leads Marius to Cosette’s house and they meet. Thénardier shows up and sees Eponinde and tells her to leave. She doesn’t want him to find Valjean, because he would turn him in to the police. She yells and draws the attention of the cops. Valjean thinks the cops are coming for him and flees. Cosette leaves a note for Marius, but Eponinde steals the note. The next day, at General LeMarque’s memorial, the revolution starts. They set up a barricade of furniture that was thrown out of windows. Javert goes undercover and pretends to be a fighter for the revolution. He learns the plans of the revolution and pretends to go steal the French’s plan, but is actually tell the French, the revolutionary’s plan. He makes up a plan that the French are going to wait to attack the next day. Gavroche calls him out on being Javert, and they lock him up. The first battle begins and Eponide dies for Marius and she gives him the note from Cosette. Marius sends Gavroche to Cosette’s apartment. Valjean intercepts the note and goes to the battle to see this ‘Marius.’ They are suspicious of Valjean but he kills some French waiting to attack on the rooftops nearby. They say he can kill Javert. Valjean takes Javert out back and pretends to shoot him, but lets him free. When Marius is wounded, Valjean takes him from the front line and hides with him in a pipe. He tries to hold on, but he falls and they land in a sewer. Valjean falls hard and passes out. Thénardier comes by and takes Marius’s ring and sees Valjean. Valjean wakes up and gets Marius out of the sewer. When he gets out he is confronted by Javert, and pleads to just have enogh to time take Marius home. Javert lets him go. Javert commits suicide because his life was in debt to a criminal. The French win at the Barricade and Everyone, including Gavroche and Enjorlas, die. Marius and Cosette reunite and are in love. Valjean confesses everything to Marius, and tells him to keep it a secret from Cosette. Valjean goes to the Convent he went to in the beginning and is ready to die. On Marius and Cosette’s Wedding day, Thénardier shows up and tells Marius that Valjean has killed someone the other night. Thénardier talks about a ring he got from the victim. Marius realizes the Valjean saved him. He and Cosette go to the convent, just in time to say goodbye to Valjean and have an amazing Finale with the whole cast singing at a grand barricade, reuniting the dead with the living.

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars. The best broadway musical movie we’ve ever seen, hands down.

By Simon Rabinowitz and Alex Pear