While this is not the 1935 original in French language with Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke THIS is my favorite. Really enjoyed Russell Crowe in the 2012 version. This is a great classic movie, and the best version in my opinion
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Theresa C. (T5Coleman) from MILFORD, PA Reviewed on 6/14/2010...
The best Les Miserables movie made in my opinion. If you're not a fan of musicals this is a perfect fit for you. No singing in this version. :o) Enjoy!
5 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Elisabeth D. (celticsoceress) from AMHERST, NY Reviewed on 1/8/2009...
If someone ordered this and then I rejected it-sorry! I hit the cancel order button on the wrong dvd. Sorry!
1 of 22 member(s) found this review helpful.
Great movie, fair adaption
LaJuana Decker | 05/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Les Misérables - 1998 film version - formal reviewThis newest film version of Les Misérables presents this classic story as the grand sweeping epic that it is, yet diverges from the original story, leaving much to be desired. Fans of Victor Hugo's beloved novel, published in 1862, and of the popular musical, produced in 1985, may be disappointed in this movie's truncated version of the story. However, the film manages to keep intact the main themes of Hugo's story of love, mercy, and redemption. As a movie in its own right, this film deserves the highest praise. As historical drama it is of the highest quality. The movie portrays Jean Valjean as a true hero, a person whom we can admire because of his courage and self-sacrificing commitment to godly principle. The acting is excellent -- Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush star as Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, and both simply become their characters. Uma Thurman gives an exceptional performance as Fantine. The soundtrack for the film is beautiful as well.However, this movie cannot be evaluated separately from the novel and musical (which follows the novel quite closely and has gained a wide following of devoted fans). In terms of faithfulness to the original story, the film falls short. The first half of the movie follows the novel quite well; much of the screenplay is taken almost directly from the book, and no important characters or events are removed. Unfortunately, however, the first half of the movie covers less than one third of the story. In the second half, the movie diverges widely from the original. Enthusiasts of the musical and novel will be disappointed to see that two important characters from the Paris setting, Enjolras and Eponine -- both of whom are popular favorites among fans -- are completely eliminated from the film, their roles given to other characters or deleted altogether. The second half of the film is mercilessly truncated and adapted. The film's portrayal of Cosette as a rather spoiled young woman who is always ready to pout if she doesn't get her way is inconsistent with the sweet and oblivious Cosette of Hugo's novel. The character of Javert, the obsessed policeman who hounds Jean Valjean, is also altered -- perhaps more subtly -- to make him out as the depraved villain of the story, when in the novel and musical he is more complex and less of a villain. The other characters, however, are faithfully portrayed in the film.Even in the second half, the movie does shine at times. The depiction of Jean Valjean continues to be brilliant (except for one scene in which he slaps Cosette and then reveals his past to her, both actions in complete inconsistency with his character according to Hugo). The last fifteen minutes of the film do portray well the important universal theme of Justice versus Mercy. However, the movie curtails the original story, robbing it of a good deal of its poignancy. Altogether, though, the film manages to preserve the main themes and characters of the original novel. It serves as a good introduction to the story. It should inspire viewers to read the original book and listen to the musical as well!"
A Terrible Adaptation
rachel_enjolras | Oregon | 09/22/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good movie. I mean, not badly cast. Lovingly done. The acting is great. Yeah, you should enjoy it. Assuming you know absolutely nothing about Victor Hugo's original story. The truth is, if I didn't know better, I'd say whoever wrote the script never read Hugo's masterpiece and based it completely on the 1935 version. Come to think of it, I don't know better. That's probably exactly what happened.I never thought I'd say this, but I am so glad Hugo didn't have to live to see this movie.If you've read the book, you will hate this film. TRUST me. The plot, especially toward the end, is mercilessly butchered and rewritten. At some points it becomes utterly unrecognizable. Many of the revisions completely miss or even destroy the essence of characters, and some do not even make sense, the movie ending with Jean Valjean jubilant over the death of Javet, whose life he has made an enormous sacrifice to save.Likewise, Javert would never attack Cosette; he was obsessively professional, not cruel. Nor would end his life (with minimal explanation, no less) in front of Valjean. Marius would NEVER act like Enjolras (oh, I forgot, there IS no Enjolras). Neither Marius NOR Enjolras would smile at remarks about making love to Cosette, so I find it hard to believe that some mutant hybrid Marjolras would. Cosette would never consider leaving Marius, her soulmate, to stay with Valjean, her adoptive father. And above all, Jean Valjean would NEVER, EVER fall in love with Fantine. The mere suggestion of this limits the portrayal of his charity to people he takes a special interest in.Small variations are to be expected in any film adaptation of a book, but these all completely distort characters. The people who made this movie may have gotten the message (love, charity, etc.), but they missed the point.If you've never read the book, see this movie. It is touching and carries a good message.But it is not Les Misérables."
J. N. Osborne | USA | 03/17/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Did the writer of the screenplay even READ Hugo's masterpiece novel? This movie may be nice-looking, have a generally excellent cast (with the exclusion of the whiny Claire Danes as Cosette), but in everything else, it falls sickeningly short of the mark. First off, one of Hugo's chief themes in Les Miserables is redemption; Jean Valjean becomes a saint-like man after being saved by the kindly Bishop of Digne, he goes from an embittered man to a gentle, merciful man, not a wicked convict to a frightened man on the run! This film lost that essence of redemption and thus lost one of the most important parts that made Les Miserables what it is. Also, we were shown that the screenplay writer obviously didn't know who was who in the novel; Marius takes the place of the god-like (they liken him to Apollo in the novel) Enjolras as the student leader, they completely lose the political pun of the Friends of the A B C (ah-BAY-SAY! )... and other small errors that are altogether a display of laziness or dispassion on the part of the writers. The insurrection of the students gets turned into a five minute action scene that serves no purpose in the film thanks to the loss of an ample description of the troubles in Paris. But back to characterization problems. As above, Valjean has become a harsh, paranoid old man on the run, whereas Javert has become a selfish, overly ambitious cop with an unhealthy obsession and a nasty personality. Cosette has become a headstrong, spoiled little brat as opposed to a kindly young lady in love, and Marius... Marius has turned into Enjolras with his hair dyed black, too many freckles, and a talent for writing love letters in his spare time. Oh yes- one more question. Where are the Thenardiers and their daughters? For that matter-- why didn't the other students get their moments in the spotlight? If a musical can do a better job at illustrating the theme and characterizations true to the novel on which it's based-- something is most certainly wrong with this film. There are countless more mistakes in this film, but some have already been mentioned in other reviews, and there are simply too many to be counted... A pity; this film could have had promise, being taken off of such a beautiful story..."
It butchered the story
J. N. Osborne | 09/24/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"There were too many flaws in this movie to name, so I'll stick with the two that stuck out to me the most: the absence of both Enjolras and Eponine. Though not main characters, they are central ones, crucial to both the plot and the theme of Les Miserables: Eponine was the main symbol of the misery that the social system inflicted on the poor; Enjolras was the idealistic leader willing to sacrifice everything in order to end that misery for all. These two are perhaps the most tragic figures in the book and musical, for they gave up everything--their own lives--out of unrequited love (Eponine for Marius, Enjolras for France and her people), and this selfless love, personified in the characters of Enjolras and Eponine as well as Valjean and Fantine, is one of the basic underlying themes of the story. Plotwise, Enjolras and Eponine are vital characters; Eponine, despite her feelings for Marius, brings Marius and Cosette together; and Enjolras is the one who makes the barricade--and thus Valjean's rescue of both Marius and Javert, acts which confirm his saintly nobility--possible. It was out of character for Marius to be the leader, for he did not have the unyielding idealism and self-sacrificing nature of Enjolras. The students wouldn't have followed someone more dedicated to a girl and his own feelings than to them and their cause. (And by the way, what happened to the Friends of the ABC?) Indeed, the entire movie is filled with faulty characterization: Valjean and Fantine were not in love, Valjean would not slap Cosette and would not have revealed his past to her so soon, and he definitely would not smile after watching Javert die. It would be extremely difficult for a film to do Les Miserables justice, but the three-and-a-half hour musical certainly does so, remaining true to the intent of the novel. Considering the talented acting this movie had, I expected better. But even great acting can't save a movie whose plot is faulty, ambiguous, and unfaithful to the original work. Taking artistic license is one thing, but destroying the story is another--and this movie is much closer to the latter than it is to the former."