Les Miserables, or Les Mis for short.  This is one of those things you can’t quite put into words.

Les Miserables is a movie based on a play based on a book.  I had heard of Les Miserables before, in fact I doubt there are many out there who can claim complete ignorance to at least the name considering it has been around for so long in different medias.  But I knew little to nothing of what the story of Les Miserables was about.

Les Miserables was originally written in 1862 by Victor Hugo.  A French historical novel, Les Mis spans seventeen years of French history, from 1815 to the actual revolution in 1832.  The story focuses on an ex convict Jean Valjean and his story of redemption.

Sentenced to five years in prison for stealing bread to feed his nephew, Jean serves nineteen years in prison, the additional fourteen years were tacked on as punishment for trying to escape.

After serving his time, Jean is released with papers branding him a dangerous criminal and thus ensuring he can get no honest work anywhere, so he winds up trying to steal from a priest who of course shows him the power of Gods love and leads Jean onto a new path.

Jean decides to leave his past behind and take a new name, eventually rising to become a mayor of a town in charge of several factories and warehouses that employed several women. One of whom was cast out and forced into prostitution to make money for her daughter.  Jean finds this woman some time later, learns of her daughter, but is too late to save the mother.  So in an attempt to redeem himself for inadvertantly condemning mother and child, Jean sets himself on a quest to find the child and raise her as his own.

Now all that takes place in like the first hour of the film, and Jean’s path is made more difficult by a over zealous french officer who is determined to bring Jean in for ‘justice’ and refuses to believe that he is a good, honest man despite all the evidence to the contrary on the several occations that they meet.

Les Mis is a stirring account of love, justice, and redemption in one of the most dangerous and tumultuous times of French history, and this latest version of the movie is full of big name actors playing the four most famous and infamous characters of the story.  Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, Russel Crowe the man who chases after him all his life, Anne Hathaway is the mother, and Amanda Seyfried plays the daughter, with Helen Bonham Carter, Sasha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, and several actors from the Broadway musical filling out the suporting roles.

And apparently all the singing going on in the movie?  It’s the actor’s real signing voices.  I was impressed by Russel, surprised by Hugh, loathed Amanda’s singing voice (I heard more high pitched screeching than actual words), and Anne’s voice was just as I expected it.

All in all, a wondrous film and I’m actually looking forward to reading the monster of a book that started it all.  Enjoy folks.

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