Les Miserables

The French have always had the arts cornered, culinary, linguistic, literary, and anything else they decide to put their hand to.

Two of my favorite authors are French: Alexander Dumas and Victor Hugo.

Victor_Hugo

Hugo’s greatest work, in my opinion, was Les Miserables, the world class book turned play turned musical turned motion picture.

Three years ago my aunt bought me the unabridged seven volume set. The plight of every character, Fantine to Enjolras, had me hooked from page 1. The themes of mercy, justice, and freedom transcend the time and place, but I think everyone else should give upon writing the French Revolution.

I like Les Miserables more than most, a lot more than most, so going to the movie was a little nerve racking. What if they got it wrong? Most importantly, what if they got Enjolras wrong?

I may have a favorite. I can’t help it. Marius is a dork and Ejolras is the strong revolutionary who has ideals and purpose like Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof. In case you didn’t notice, I like musicals.

The movie? It was good. It showed the tension between Jean Valjean’s identity as Prisoner 24601and Mayor Madeline. Cossete  grew beyond her horrible childhood, Marius become a man, and Javert was the definition of justice.  Enjolras was the stalwart leader of the revolution. Eponine, my personal favorite, was true to the waifish woman trying to find her way in the book.

All that to say, the movie is worth a view. I would not be surprised if both Anne Hathaway as Fantine and Eddie Ray as Marius walked away with Oscars.

-W

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