The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving ...
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The students face heavy casualties at their barricade. Valjean manages to carry away an unconscious Marius through the sewers. At the end of them, he finds Javert waiting for him. Unexpectedly, the ...
The year is 1816, and Napoleon, held prisoner by the British on the island of St. Helena, is telling the young English girl Betsy his life story. His meteoric rise to military prominence ... See full summary »
The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.
Jean Valjean, pursued through the years for a minor infraction by the implacable policeman Javert, attempts to create a life for himself and for his adopted daughter Cosette amid the ... See full summary »
The scene is set during the French Restoration at the beginning of the 19th century. Jean Valjean, a galley slave who was sent to prison for stealing food, is now released after serving nineteen years. At first he only encounter mistrust and closed doors; only the saintly Bishop Bienvenu treats him kindly and takes him in. The bishop's truly Christian compassion and humanity not only restores Jean Valjean's faith in the good, but also smoothes his way back to an orderly life. As Monsieur Madeleine, Valjean is soon a wealthy industrialist and popular citizen, even becoming the mayor of a small provincial town. His good fortune departs, however, when he meets Fantine, one of his workers, an unmarried mother who tragically dies of consumption. The well-intentioned Valjean frees Fantine's illegitimate daughter Cosette from the clutches of her insidious foster parents, and looks after her like a father. When Valjean reveals his true identity in order to prevent an innocent man who closely ...Written by
John Malkovich and Gerard Depardieu had already previously played together as the main characters of the adaptation of a french novel: in 1998, they both played respectively as Athos and Porthos in the Man in the Iron Mask. See more »
Two versions were shot: one in French for Europe which runs 360 Minutes. The other was shot in English and runs 180 Minutes. See more »
Not a bad series-adaptation of a classic piece of literature at all, not as good as the 1934 and 1935 films(I remember Anthony Perkins' version being better as well) but better than those with Michael Rennie and Liam Neeson. On the most part, while far from perfect, it is actually good. There are parts where the direction is choppy and things look too clean and perfect, the relationship between Cosette and Marius could have been less bland and while Valjean and Cosette are very convincing father-daughter figures the love for each other did seem a little too strong and loving at times. There's also one miscast and one mixed bag. The miscast was Enrico Lo Verso as Marius, people have said he's too old and it is true but that he is very stiff and almost too creepy is more of a problem. John Malkovich's Javert was a mixed bag, he has the authority, upholding-the-law-attitude, determination and the cold-bloodedness but he can come across as too subdued, too stoic(some of his line delivery is rather monotonous) and with not enough of the tortured soul that Javert becomes later. On the other hand, it is beautifully shot and has lavish and mostly authentic costumes and sets. Jean-Claude Petit's scoring underlines the tension and poignancy of the drama with ease without over-emphasising them, while the scripting is literate and with the spirit of Victor Hugo's writing coming through and the story has the emotional power, pathos, hope and tension that it should. There are alterations and reduced screen-time for characters(Eponine), but you feel Fantine's tragic plight as well as Gavroche's death and the ending is both powerful and affecting, that there's the inclusion of Gillenormand- a character that has been neglected before- is an extra plus. The series is a good length, the book is mammoth so a long length is a good idea, and the pacing takes its time to develop like the storytelling in the book without being too stillborn. The rest of the cast are fine, especially Gerard Depardieu(despite having perhaps a too imposing a physique) as a Valjean where the nobility, magnetism, charisma and tragic grandeur is completely realised and in a way that we feel it too. And also Charlotte Gainsburg as one of the most moving Fantines you'll ever find. Virgine Ledoyen is a beautiful and loyal Cosette without being like a waif, spoiled brat or window-dressing. Asia Argento while underused is indeed an Eponine you feel pity and contempt for, and Christian Clavier is menacing and funny as Thernadier(Veronica Ferres matches him very well as his wife if too on the pretty side). Overall, has problems but on the most part it is good. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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