Friday, July 1, 2011

A miserable Les Miserables


With anticipation and excitement after finishing the novel Chuck and I rented the above movie version of the book by director Bille August. The first half half of the movie was great... Uma Thurman and Liam Neeson were great in their respective roles of Jean Valjean and Fantine.

Geoffrey Rush played a good Javert but towards the end of the movie he did a ton of stuff that was totally made up and not in the book... like meeting Cosette or having some kid spy tell him about Jean Valjean and the revolution....

I knew they were going to have to cut out a lot of the story to make it a 2 hour film, however this movie completely changed the story... and the essence and nature of two of my favorite characters.

Cosette played by Claire Daines is portrayed as a rebellious teenager looking for love and a different life. There are heated arguments between her and Jean Valjean and there seems to be this element of distrust until Jean Valjean reveals his past. In the book Cosette is pure innocence and devotion to her father, she does not know his past (nor does she ever find out from him) but she doesn't care, she loves him unconditionally and is willing to follow him to the ends of the earth. PLUS she would NEVER sneak away from home to go see Marius....

Marius is the other character they completely changed. He was not the leader of the revolution... he was too busy following Cosette around secretly and spent most of the book daydreaming and longing for her and the chance to talk to her. Plus they completely left out any character development of Marius and his father and grandfather.... which made up hundreds of pages of the book.

The ending of the book is also extremely different. The movie leaves you with the "Happily Ever After" feel as Jean Valjean runs away free through a flock of flying birds... the end of the book is his death... (you will have to read it for details).

Oh my!!! Toni or someone if you have seen this movie tell me how it compares to the Broadway show... If the show is like the movie I don't know if I can bring myself to see it. Oh tell me they didn't butcher that too.

This movie does not do the book any sort of justice, in fact it is a miserable imitation.

1 comment:

Toni Jones said...

Okay here's my 2 cents...

if you had never read the book, you would love the movie. it's one of Dan's favorite movies actually. but yes, they left out a ton and did change quite a bit.

the broadway show, in my opinion, is kind of in between the movie and the book, not completely accurate like the book, but not as far off as the movie. somewhere in between... which might be disappointing to you. but, on the other hand, the music is SO amazing (best broadway musical score by far) that it makes up for it. the lyrics are so touching and you can't help but leave with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. and they included one of my favorite characters, Eponine, so i was happy.

So yeah, there's my thoughts. I still think you should see the show if you ever get the chance (and take me with you!).