|Tom Hooper Director||previously directed The King's Speech|
An adaptation of the successful stage musical as well as the Victor Hugo book, LES MISARABLES tells the story of a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean in 1800s France seeking redemption and comes across a poor, desperate woman forced into prostitution.
Paul Bettany was considered for the role of Inspector Javert before Russell Crowe was cast.7 More Trivia
|Victor Hugo||Based on a novel by|
|Hugh Jackman||Jean Valjean|
|Helena Bonham Carter||Madame Thénardier|
|Sacha Baron Cohen||Monsieur Thenardier|
|See Full Credits|
Les Miserables is a new musical adaptation of the classic Victor Hugo story and the musical of the same name. Directed by Tom Hooper, the film is different from most other musicals as the actors sing live on set and not to their previously recorded track as is the standard.
Studio's Official Synopsis
"Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption–a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever."
Les Miserables is the first musical that recorded most of the music on set. This means that instead of recording the music in a studio and then shooting the scenes while lip-synching (or not fully singing), the singing heard in the music is actually what the actors on set did. The microphones the actors used were digitally erased in post-production. This new approach was to create a gritty, realistic, and personal sound. Most of the cast, including stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, said that this new style allowed them to really act as their vocal inflections could incorporate the scenery and the other actors.
The movie opens in 1815. The original French Revolution was nearly twenty years ago. Napolean has been exiled and Louis Phillippe, cousin of the executed King Louis, is the new monarch. The nation is devastated from war--both internal and global--and poverty is rampant.
Jean Valjean is serving his last day in prison. He was sentenced to five years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and her infant son and received an additional fourteen for attempting to escape: Nineteen years total! Everyday, Valjean toils away at backbreaking work. Valjean spends his final day with a group of other prisoners pulling a wrecked ship into a repair dock by ropes.
Valjean is given his release by an officer named Javert. Javert hands him a yellow paper that identifies him as a convict. Javert tells Valjean that prisoners must carry this paper with them at all times and that no one will hire someone with it. Javert then orders Valjean to retrieve the flag from the ship and then lets him go, telling him he must report to the courts for a parole hearing in six weeks or he will be sent right back.
Valjean goes to where his sister and her son lived, but finds that they died within a year of his imprisonment. He then travels from town to town trying to find work, but no one will hire an ex-convict. Valjean finally collapses from hunger and exposure near a church.
An elderly priest finds Valjean and brings him inside. He gives Valjean food and gives him a warm bread. That night, Valjean steals all of the valuable silver-wear and runs off. Instead of going to his parole hearing, he tries to find someone to buy the silver-wear, but is instead caught by the police and dragged back to the church. The priest pretends that he had given the silver-wear to him, but says that Valjean left in a hurry, as he intended to give him the candlesticks as well. The police are skeptical, but there is nothing they can do, so they leave. The priest then tells Valjean that this was a gift from God and he should use it to start a new life.
Valjean tears up his yellow paper, announces he is a changed man, and vows to do good for the rest of his life.
The movie skips ahead a few years. Valjean used the gifts from the priest to become a successful businessman and has been elected mayor of a town called Montreuil-ser-Mer. Valjean--under the alias "Monsieur Madaline"--is a good mayor, but the town is still very impoverished because so is all of France.
Fantine is a factory worker in a factory Valjean is an owner of. Fantine's co-workers discover she has a daughter (Fantine is not married). Believing her immoral behavior could jeopardize all of their jobs, the co-workers tell the overseer. Valjean's office is above the factory (that he owns), and he is on a regular walk around it to see everything is going smoothly. He sees Fantine pleading with the overseer and is going to intervene (in Fantine's favor), but is startled when he sees Javert enter the building. He hurries out in fear Javert will recognize him, telling the overseer to deal with Fantine.
Fantine tells the overseer that she had her daughter, Cosette, with a man she hoped would marry her. However, the man left her and she has sent Cosette (now roughly ten years old) to live with a couple owning a tavern, as she knows having a child around will get her fired. She must pay the tavern-masters to keep Cosette and she desperately needs the daughter, or she and her daughter will be homeless. She says she only sees Cosette every few months (even though it breaks her heart to abandon her) and it doesn't interfere with her work. The overseer says that having a child out of wedlock shows a poor work ethic and fires Fantine on the spot.
Valjean goes to his office, but Javert enters it. Javert (who's first name is never given) is now Inspector Javert and has been assigned as police commissioner to Monsieur-ser-Mer (meaning he reports directly to Valjean). Javert says he thinks Valjean looks familiar, but Valjean insists they have never met.
Valjean finds a man crushed by a broken cart, slowly dying. No one can get him out. Valjean grabs the cart and uses all his effort to push it up--this form of exertion is very similar to the work he did as a convict. Javert sees him doing this and seems to recognize him.
Fantine becomes a prostitute to help her daughter, and sells her teeth for money. She lives in a dilapidated warehouse exposed to the elements, and must spend every day out in the snow in skimpy clothing (it is winter). She bemoans her fate in the powerful song "I Dreamed a Dream."
Fantine is standing in a Red Light District one night when a drunken asshole thinks it is funny to shove snow in her cleavage. Being cold and wet means Fantine can't work that night, and thus she and Cosette (who still lives in the tavern) could go hungry. Enraged, she claws the man's face. He starts shouting at Fantine and Inspector Javert approaches to prevent a fight. The man demands Javert arrest Fantine. Javert says he will if the man files a formal report. The man is hesitant too--it would involve admitting he was consorting with prostitutes--but is so pissed off (the scratches could leave permanent scars) that he says he will.
Jean Valjean happens to be walking by and rushes over to stop the dispute. He defends Fantine and says he will deal with her. Javert tells him Fantine must be punished for her actions, but Valjean orders him away (the drunk man leaves). Fantine tells Valjean it is all his fault as he ignored her plight at the factory. Valjean feels great remorse and vows to help Fantine.
Fantine becomes very ill, mostly due to exposure and malnurishment. Valjean gets her a place in a hospital, but she is going to die anyway.
Javert goes to Valjean at his office. He says he wants Valjean to fire him and write to the governor for him to be arrested. Javert explains that he "mistook" Valjean for a convict who skipped his parole hearing years before and wrote too the courts about it. However, he found out that the man--Jean Valjean--had in fact been caught and was going to be on trial in two days, where he was sure to be sent back to prison for life. Javert says he must be treated as harshly as the law demands, as that is what is just and all he deserves.
Valjean tells Javert that it wasn't a big mistake and says he will not do anything to get Javert in trouble and will certainly not fire him. He then sends Javert out of his office. He then journeys to the court to find the man accused of being Jean Valjean. Just before the man falsely accused of being Jean Valjean is sentenced to life in prison, Valjean steps forward and says that he is the one they want.
Valjean hurries back to the hospital in Monsieur-ser-Mer to see Fantine one last time. Fantine is on her death-bed. She tells Valjean about Cosette and says that her daughter will now be homeless and will certainly die. Valjean vows to go get Cosette and find he a home. Fantine dies.
Before Valjean leaves the hospital, Javert bursts in and tries to arrest Valjean. Valjean says he will go with Javert in three days but he needs to go help Cosette first. Javert says there is no way in hell that is going to happen (not in though exact words). Valjean asks Javert if he has any mercy, and Javert replies that he was "once a gutter rat like you." He came from just as humble and hopeless beginnings as Valjean, and is sworn to enforce the law at all times. He draws his sword and battles Valjean (who defends himself with a poker). Valjean then jumps from the balcony into the icy water and swims away. Javert shouts out that he vows to find Valjean.
Valjean goes to the tavern where Cosette is. The owners of the tavern are a couple named the Thenardiers (no first name is given, they are simple Monsieur Thenardier and Madame Tenardier). They are thoroughly immoral and selfish. They steal from the guests at the tavern (even taking glass eyes). They spoil their own daughter--Eponine--but are abusive dicks to Cosette, whom they beat and treat as their slave. Madame Thenardier sends Cosette out into the woods barefoot without a coat (again, this is a frigid winter) to get some water (this is at least a quarter mile walk). Valjean finds Cosette in the woods before he knows he arrives at the tavern and takes her back without knowing who she is. When he finds out, he pays the Thenardiers a large sum of money to give him Cosette.
While Valjean and Cosette are in a coach entering Paris, they see police under the command of Javert closing in. They flee on foot and are nearly captured, but Valjean runs into the man who he saved from the fallen wagon. The man finds Valjean and Cosette a small home next to a monastary/convent, where they are fairly well hidden.
More years pass. Cosette is now an adult. Valjean and Cosette are not rich, but they live in relative comfort to the rest of France, which is worse off than ever.
A young man named Enjolras is given anti-government speeches in the town square, encouraging a revolution. One of his friends and fellow patriots is Marius. Marius accompanies Enjolras around the city spreading revolutionary messages.
A friend of Marius and Enjolras is Eponine Thenardiers. Hard times have fallen on Eponine and her parents (and her younger brother, Gavroche, who is roughly twelve years old). They have lost the tavern and run various fraudulent operations (mostly involving pick-pocketing) in Paris. Eponine is not like her parents and is trying to find a better life, however she is dirt poor and has no other choice.
Eponine finds out that Marius is Marius Pontmercy, from a wealthy family who is royalty. Marius tells Eponine he lives in a lower-class apartment and accompanies Enjolras because he really believes in the cause (though he can always return to his rich family and live a luxurious life). Marius admits that Enjolras is aware of Marius's background. Eponine says not to worry; she won't tell anyone. It is clear Eponine likes Marius in a romantic way, but he views their relationship merely as friends.
One day, as Enjolras is giving a speech, the older Thenardiers are using the commotion to run a scam where they trick people with a baby doll that supposedly needs help and then robs them (Eponine uncomfortably watches). One of the people walking by who falls for the scam is Jean Valjean. With him is Cosette.
Valjean recognizes the Thenardiers and is shocked to see them. Just then, police come to break up Enjolras's speech. Javert is now an inspector in Paris and happens to be in the square. He sees Valjean arguing with the Thenardiers and rushes away with Cosette. However, in the commotion Cosette bumps into Marius.
Javert confronts the Thenardiers and asks them what they know about Valjean, but leaves when they offer know information. The Thenardiers think Valjean may have some stolen wealth and also think they might be able to sell his whereabouts to the police. With Eponine, they find out where Valjean and Cosette are.
Marius tells Eponine that when he say Cosette it was love at first sight. He begs Eponine to take him to her. Eponine does so.
Marius goes to Valjean and Cosette's house that night. He talks to Cosette in her garden, and they profess their love for each other. Valjean hears Cosette talking to someone and calls her back into the house, as he is concerned that they could both be arrested if Javert finds out their whereabouts, and the safest strategy is to keep Cosette isolated.
Marius leaves, lovestruck. Eponine, who watched the whole thing, cries as she realizes that Marius loves Cosette over herself.
Monsieur Thenardier approaches with a group of friends to rob Valjean's house. Eponine begs him not to, but her father says he will anyway. Eponine screams so as to alert police and Valjean. Monsieur Therndardier realizes that the plan is off, but before he runs away he punches his daughter in the face and disowns her.
Cosette finds Eponine. Recognizing Eponine as a friend of Marius, Cosette asks Eponine to give a letter to Marius. Eponine reads the letter and sees it is a plan for the two to elope. Eponine decides not to give Marius the letter.
Enjolras tells a group of fellow patriots--including Marius--that the time has come for them to stage a new revolution. Marius is hesitant, and considers going to find Cosette instead. He decides that she might not even be interested and anyway, the cause needs him. He tells Enjolras that he is with him.
Enjolras, Marius, and a group of revolutionaries stage a riot. Javert tries to diffuse the situation, telling his officers to hold their fire. A panicked soldier shoots anyway and a war begins. Enjolras, Marius, and the other revolutionaries barricade themselves in a city block.
Javert goes to the barricade and says he wants to join the cause. He then tells the revolutionaries that the French troops plan to starve them out and it would be best to just leave and fight another day. This is not true; in fact, troops are advancing to the barricade that very moment.
Gavroche, who is a revolutionary and follows Enjolras more than his father, recognizes Javert and alerts the revolutionaries. They tie him up and plan to execute him. However, the troops attack.
Eponine is mortally wounded saving Marius. Before she dies, she professes her love to Marius and says she dies happy, as she is in her lover's arms. She then gives Marius the letter from Cosette.
During a lull in the battle, Gavroche goes to Valjean's home to find Cosette. He hands Valjean a love note from Marius to give to Cosette. Instead, Valjean reads it and rushes to the barricade.
Valjean is seized by the revolutionaries and nearly murdered, as they suspect he is a spy (most of them are younger, of Marius's generation). Gavroche recognizes Valjean and convinces them not to hurt him. Valjean then says that Javert has been trying to get him for years, a story Gavroche confirms. Valjean then says he would like to personally kill Javert. The revolutionaries agree.
Valjean leads Javert behind a building for his "execution," but instead unties him, gives him a weapon, and tell him to run away. Javert tells Valjean that it would be better if he just killed him as he will still pursue Valjean as it is his duty. Valjean spares him anyway.
The troops attack the barricade. Enjolras hopes that the rest of Paris will rush to his side's aide, but they are all to scared, and simply stay in their rooms and keep the doors locked. In the battle, all of the revolutionaries at the barricade are killed, including Enjolras. Gavroche is caught in the crossfire and retrieving ammunition for the rebels and dies as well.
Valjean finds Marius shot, unconcious, and on death's door. He jumps into the sewer to get Marius to safety. He is found by Monsieur Thernardier, who is picking the pockets of those who died in battle. Valjean grabs Thernadier and has him tell them how to get out.
Javert is going over the bodies. He mourns the dead on both side and even leaves a medal he won in the Napoleonic Wars with Gavroche's body. He sees that Valjean and Marius are not among the dead. He figures out where they went and chases them into the sewers.
Javert nearly gets Valjean and Marius, but Valjean and Marius manage to escape when Javert doesn't fire his gun. Valjean says that he has failed and commits suicide.
Valjean nurses Marius back to health and tells him why Javert was chasing him (but not that he saved Marius). He then says it will be a danger for Cosette if she knew who her "father" was and has Marius promise not to tell her anything. He then runs away, saying that the police will now follow him and leave his "daughter" alone.
Months (if not years) go by. Marius has returned to his upper class home. Hemarries Cosette. The Thernardiers pose as nobles and sneak into the wedding with the hopes of stealing something. They are quickly caught and cast back into the streets. As this is happening, Marius sees Thernadier is wearing a ring that was his. Thernadier says he was stealing it from bodies in the sewer he thought were dead, but then was scared off by Jean Valjean, who was not dead and was carrying the other body off. Marius realizes he was the "body" and that Valjean saved him. He tells Cosette and the two hurry off to find Valjean.
They find Valjean sitting in a convent, dying. Valjean hands Cosette a written record of his life, and then leaves to heaven with the spirit of Fantine. A final shot shows all the dead together in a great barricade singing.
Universal planned Les Miserables as a major holiday movie and awards contender. Critics would have time to see the movie before Christmas and thus give good reviews and awards voters would have to even sooner so as to ensure Les Miserables would not be ignored. Universal decided the latest possible date for the first screening of Les Miserables would have be November 23, the Friday after Thanksgiving. The movie started shooting on March 8 of 2012, but with the incredible scale of the project it was extremely difficult to complete all the editing, score, and visual elements in time to show for critics.
In a Collider article posted on November 24, it was reported that Director Tom Hooper finished editing the movie together at around 2am on November 23--only a few hours before it would debut!
The first screening, shown in downtown New York City, was successful. The audience applauded after every musical number and when the cast came out on stage at the end of the picture there was a fifteen minute standing ovation.
Les Miserables was well received by critics. On RottenTomatoes, 70% of the 210 reviews (147 of them) were positive. On Metacritic, the film received a score of 63, which puts it in the highest color, GREEN, and the second highest category, "Generally Positive Reivews." Of the Metacritic reviews, 24 were positive, 15 were mixed, and 2 were negative.
Most critic groups gave best picture nominations to Les Miserables.
The largest and most prestigious body of film critics, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, greatly appreciated Les Miserables, bestowing it with several nominations (including Best Picture) at their Critics' Choice Awards. The nominations were:
Best Picture (Lost to Argo)
Best Director -- Tom Hooper (Unlike the Oscars and Golden Globes, the Critics' Choice Awards have six nominees for Best Director instead of five)
Best Acting Ensemble
Best Actor -- Hugh Jackman
Best Supporting Actress -- Anne Hathaway WON!!!
Best Editing -- Melanie Anne Oliver & Chris Dickens
Best Cinematography -- Danny Cohen
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
The Golden Globe Awards are given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an exclusive group of film critics (mostly from the West Coast). Though the selections of the Globes are not always as universally praised as that of the Critics' Choice or Oscars, the grand telecast is generally well-reviewed and garners millions of views. Since many of the Golden Globe Awards' nominees are split into two categories--Drama and Musical/Comedy--Les Miserables was not up against most of the other awards contenders (such as Argo and Lincoln). Therefore, it garnered more wins in the acting categories and was able to beat Silver Linings Playbook to win a Best Picture award. However, it had less nominations than at the Critics' Choice and Oscars because the Golden Globe does not have awards for the technical categories (Cinematography, Costume Design, etc.). Les Miserables was nominated for:
Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) WON!!!
Best Actor (Musical/Comedy) WON!!!
Best Supporting Actress WON!!!
Best Original Song -- "Suddenly"
The Academy Awards, or Oscars, are given by a large body of people in the film industry. At the 85th Annual Academy Awards, Les Miserables was nominated in eight categories. They are:
Best Actor -- Hugh Jackman
Best Supporting Actress -- Anne Hathaway WON!!!
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup and Hairstyling WON!!!
Best Sound Mixing WON!!!
Best Original Song -- "Suddenly"
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|US Release||Dec. 25, 2012|
|UK Release||Jan. 11, 2013|
|AUS Release||Dec. 26, 2012|
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