Saturday, 10 April 2010

Les Miserables (1998) [* * * * *]

One of my earliest heroes is Jean Valjean from Les Miserables, Victor Hugo's classic (which I must have read a dozen times, all 800 pages of it.:p) so it's about time I saw it as a movie. The hero is all that I dreamed of in my twenties and the story closely follows the book, so I'm grateful.

Victor Hugo
For those who don't know the extraordinary humanist, Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885): he was one of the new French Republic's most powerful thinkers who upheld human rights and democracy above nationalism and monarchy. He was exiled most of his life but wrote about social injustice in France.

Les Miserables
The story is of a hungry child who stole bread and got 20 yrs in prison for it. It is set during the time in France when reform was impossible and crimes made criminals for life.

The convict on release steals from the first person who shows him kindness, a priest. But the priest gets him released and Jean Valjean becomes a new man. The rest of the story is the relentless arm of an unfair Law hunting him down and his unique godliness through it all - one of the most exciting great escapes ever written, probably because it's the soaring escape of the human spirit from the mud of society's imposed wretchedness.

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