Brought to the big screen, the setting for this adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel is 19th century France.
Les Miserables is the musical story of Criminal 24601 aka Jean Valjean who serves 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. Valjean is released on parole and taken in by a Bishop. Later, Valjean is accused of stealing silver from the Bishop, who gives him another chance by saying the silver was a gift.
Valjean eventually breaks his parole and is continuously pursued by the police officer Javert. While on the run, but in disguise as the mayor of a town, Valjean meets Fantine, a down on her luck woman, who resorts to whatever she can to provide for her daughter, the Cinderella-esque Cozette.
Valjean promises a dying Fantine that he will care for her daughter and keeps his word as he pays a money-hungry couple money so he can take care for her. Valjean and Cozette become nomadic as he eludes capture time and time again by Javert. He even has occasion to save the life of the very man who is pursuing him.
The lead players in the cast are Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as javert and Anne Hathaway as Fantine.
There are additional characters who contribute to the storylines with each of the characters in this musical appearing to battle his/her own demons as the musical numbers intertwine and connect them one to the other.
The singing was great and along with a touching plot took moviegoers on a rollercoaster of emotions from laughter to tears. The musical is replete with twists, turns, debauchery, deceit, wit and pulling of heartstrings (especially for the little street beggar, Gavrouche). There is an underlying theme of sin and redemption throughout the plot.
For those who love musicals and can sit through the rather long movie, it is a pure delight which can appeal to the whole family.
Attendee Ruby Wake was breathlessly excited as she said, "I just loved it. Everything about it...the singing, the acting, the storylines were just great."
This writer was reminded of her high school days in French class learning about the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille.
My recommendation, however, is that one has knowledge of the basic storyline, beforehand, in order to really appreciate this movie.
Les Miserables (the movie) is currently playing in theatres everywhere. The original stage adaptation opened in the US on Broadway March 12, 1987 and closed May 18, 2003.