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Daniel Carpenter AP Euro Period 5 15 December 2013 Movie Review: Les Misrables (2012) In 1815 France, prisoner Jean

Valjean is released from prison on parole. He proceeds to tear up his papers and start a new life under a new name after he is touched by a bishops generosity and becoming a Christian. He becomes the mayor of town and factory owner eight years later in 1823. In his factory a lady, Fantine, is fired and with no other alternative turns to prostitution to pay for her illegitimate daughter. Jean Valjean finds her and feels guilty for her loss of job and promises to care for her child Cozette, as Fantine dies. Together Cozette and Jean Valjean flee from the pursuing Javert who was Jean Valjeans jailer in prison. In 1833, when General Lamarque dies students Marius, and Enjolras among others, orchestrate a revolt on the day of his funeral. Later Marius catches a glimpse of Cozette and falls in love with her instantly. ponine, friend of Marius, leads him to the residence of Cozette. The next day the students build a barricade and begin their assault. Javert disguises as a rebel in order to spy on them but is found and restrained. Jean Valjean, having learned of the love between Marius and Cozette joins the force to protect the boy for Cozettes sake. He is given Javert and told to do what he wishes with him. Instead of taking his revenge on Javert for the years of pursuit and hell, Jean Valjean frees him. The battle grows intense and every student is killed as the governments troops take the barricade every student except for Marius, who is dragged down a sewer by Jean Valjean. Javert then jumps off of a bridge into the Seine River, as he cannot resolve the conflict in his mind between his moral and civil duties. Later Marius mourns the death of his comrades and is comforted by Cozette. They marry and Jean Valjean tells Marius of his past, something he has not shared with Cozette, and then leaves them both without saying goodbye to Cozette, as he is afraid of disgracing her should his identity ever be revealed. As Jean Valjean sits dying in a convent Marius and Cozette find him and stand beside him as he hands his final confession to Cozette and he imagines the spirit of Fantine and the Bishop guiding him to his death, where he joins the rebels who died at the barricade. This film gives insight to the people of the time of the June Rebellion. It gives faces to the feelings described in textbooks. For instance the dynamic between sans-culottes and the bourgeoisie is shown as Marius, a bourgeoisie student supposedly brings disgrace to his family by fraternizing with the rebels and sans-culottes that can be seen wearing red caps. Jean Valjeans rise to wealth and notoriety after starting anew displays the changing times of the 19th century as success became based on talent and work rather than birth as capitalism diffused across Europe. It speaks of the dissolving dividing line between the nobles and bourgeoisie. Of course nationalism is a strong theme as the students fight for what they believe is for the benefit of their country. My favorite part in the movie is when Jean Valjean steals silver from the bishop and when he is found and brought back to the bishop and accused of stealing, the bishop simply says that he gave the silver to him. Not only does he save Jean Valjean from going to prison again he gives him the silver and more than he originally took. This generosity touches the viewer and embodies admirable Christ-like behavior that the church is criticized often for lacking. As Valjeans soliloquy shows, this generosity saved his soul and turned his life around. Instead of going to prison again, he gives his life to God and becomes a respectable and honest man.

In this film Tom Hooper produces excellent work. The music is stunning and emotionally connecting. Rather than seeming obligatory, the music enhances, drives the plot, and tears at the viewers heart. The work was nominated for an Oscar of best picture and won a Golden Globe for best picture. Anne Hathaways performance as Fantine is especially gripping. Winning best performance by an actress in a supporting role, Hathaway delivers her songs with such emotion that the only thing needed on screen is a simple shot of her face while she sings I Dreamed a Dream. The music is impressive given that the actors did the songs in one take. On a side note, the orchestra music was added later which allowed the actors to set their own tempi, allowing for more interpretation and emotional effort.