A &E

A Place Without Happiness

After years of doing hard labor in prison, would you feel that you deserved some happiness once you were free? In a country that is taken over by revolution, the people ultimately suffer. Les Miserables tells a story of these people in 19th century France. “The Miserable Ones” is more than just a title; it is a message of values in the face of survival.

Les Miserables starts with hope, but quickly goes into emptiness. Emptiness in the forms of death, pain, broken hearts, and failure. Although all these themes are quite depressing, no audience member can leave a screening without filling some type of love for this film. Whether it is the music, acting, or directing, there is something for everyone to find within Les Miserables. There are a few moments in the film that have dialogue. In fact, there are less than 15 lines of dialogue. The other 158 minutes of the film are done in song.

The music reflects the mood throughout the entire movie and enhances every scene to bring out emotion in the lyrics and somber tunes. It tells the story as though it were poets singing of epics. This classical way to tell Les Miserables gives a certain attraction that many people do not see in musicals today. The lyrics have more to do about how the characters are feeling and how they have experienced suffering, hope, love, redemption, and lost. The French Revolution is a main theme on its effects on the lives of people. It gives a behind the scene’ look into how difficult survival was during this time frame.

The cast of Les Miserables acts strong from beginning to end. The audience is taken straight into the story with the song “Look Down” by a chain gang that includes Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman plays the convict and the symbol of redemption through Jean Valjean. Valjean has always lived off of a survival of the fittest way till him meet a bishop that gave him a chance to redeem his soul.

“But remember this, my brother, see in this some higher plan. You must use this precious silver to become an honest man. By the witness of the martyrs, by the passion and the blood, God has raised you out of darkness. I have bought your soul for God,” said the Bishop.

The Bishop gives Valjean the silver and more that he had tried to steal. This act of mercy made Valjean see the more important things in life. Valjean then goes through his life in the story trying to help others redeem themselves, and to make survival as easy as possible. Along the way Valjean meets a variety of characters such as the prostitute Fantine (played by Anne Hathaway), Fantine’s daughter Cosette (played by Amanda Seyfried), and the comic relief duo (played by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen). Each of the cast represents a symbol of survival and the revolution which they are living in.

The human spirit is strong in such a film as Les Miserables. Even when there is pain and suffering, one can still find hope and love in the darkest places.

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