When this movie was released, I had wanted to see it with a friend of mine. Our moms discovered that there was some questionable content, and we went to see Parental Guidance (with Billy Crystal) instead. Of course Les Miserables was popular. Friends gave me information about it, and I heard some of the songs. I was even told that I’d be Cosette (if I was a character in it). So I knew a little about it, but only was allowed to see it starting this summer.
And wow, there IS a lot of “questionable” content. It’s a good thing I didn’t see it at age thirteen!
Spoilers are present below.
The story follows a convict, Jean Valjean, who “stole a loaf of bread” and spent “nineteen years a slave.” (Look Down (song)). This movie is a musical, and there is singing throughout the entire movie. There are hardly any words that are not sung. Valjean breaks parole (thus ensuring that he will be enemies with Inspector Javert for the rest of his life) and steals some silver. He is captured by the authorities but the Bishop he stole from sets him free, and gives Valjean the silver. Years later, Valjean is the mayor of a town. One of the factory workers, Fantine, has a child but does not make it public. She is found out, and is fired. She is forced to become a prostitute to save her dear girl. Javert is sent to work for Valjean, but soon suspects the mayor of being the ex-convict. Valjean eventually confesses to save another man, and Javert is soon on his trail. Before Valjean is nearly arrested, he has the chance to help Fantine. She is ill. When she is on her deathbed, he promises to look out for her daughter. Fantine dies and Valjean barely escapes the unforgiving Javert. Valjean collects Fantine’s daughter, Cosette, and treats her like his own daughter. The two life together for many years. When Cosette has grown up, she catches the eye of Marius, a young boy against the French government, and Marius catches her eye. The two of them fall instantly in love. The townspeople are mad at the government and attack people. Eponine, a girl who loves Marius, wants to be with him, and conceals a letter from Cosette to Marius. When Eponine is dying, she gives it to him. Valjean wants Marius to be alive (he is one of the townspeople fighting because he is against the government), even if he doesn’t survive, and saves Marius’s life. Cosette marries Marius, Valjean dies, and Javert commits suicide by the end of the movie.
I love the movie. I love the songs, the characters, Daniel Huttlestone. It is very well done. This movie is not appropriate for younger audiences, (because of the multiple sexual references, the prostitutes, the sex-like scenes, etc.) but is worth seeing if you get the chance and can put it into proper perspective.