Movie Review: Les MiserablesQuick Plot Summary: After a redemptive experience, a French man in the early 1800's that was a thief, starts a new life, but is tracked down by a police inspector.
Suggested Ages: 15+
There are several versions of the film, including the newer 2012 musical version. I've never read the book or seen the live musical. I've only seen the 1998 film adaptation (non-musical) and the 2012 musical film. This review is for the 1998 film. There are some merits to the 2012 musical version, but personally I prefer the 1998 non-musical one between the two. The 2012 version is "grittier" (more violent and inappropriate) and is more convoluted/complicated in its storyline - plus I just plain didn't feel like I got to really "feel" or understand the characters nearly as well in the 2012 version.
I have seen the 1998 film adaptation several times over the years, and have loved it each time. It is an exciting, entertaining, and well-acted movie. Some that have read the book or seen the musical or 2012 musical film don't seem to like that it diverges some from the story, but as a movie in its own right, this is a great film, so if you haven't read the book or can separate yourself a bit from the book or musical, you should be able to really enjoy this. The basic story is mostly intact but there were extra plot-lines and characters that were cut out and some of the plot itself was re-worked a bit - personally I thought most or all of these decisions were perfectly justified within the confines of what this movie was intended to be.
This excellent movie has strong themes of redemption, forgiveness, overcoming your past, freedom from living in fear, and is an excellent showcase of good vs. evil in our world. It's mainly because of this last one that this is NOT a family movie for children (I would say younger than 15 or so). It has some disturbing scenes because it really showcases the evil that exists in this world. But it also shows a great contrast to that evil. By disturbing scenes, I do not mean actual nudity or anything (though there is some partial nudity, due to the scene it's in, it's nothing that should really stir up lust), but there are prostitutes shown (including a main character) as well as references to children being used for sexual purposes. Again, it showcases a dark and evil world. But, again, it also showcases the clear contrast to that. This movie is sad in parts and may make you cry, but it will also lift you up, and ultimately I believe you'll be glad you watched this.
Reviewed by Christopher Long,