Les Miserables (1998)

LM

I’m still not over my Les Mis fever so here’s an older adaptation sans all the singing. Since everyone already knows by now how the story goes, I’ll cut the story summary and proceed to my review. Liam Neeson gives just and dignity to Jean Valjean. Seems like Neeson can portray ANY role and satisfy the viewer’s expectation of the character (sorry, I’m a fan of all his movies).  What’s memorable about this screenplay was that Valjean was not just seen to reform morally and spiritually. He also tried to educate himself because he was illiterate, and Neeson as Valjean had secretly tried to learn how to read and write in his home and in his office. Since Neeson always had that gentle yet firm character, it was just proper to have casted the fearsome Javert to Geoffrey Rush. Tension, tension! Props to Uma Thurman too as Fantine, because you’ll really feel sorry for her as the village looney and whore in this film. Her dying scene was really tragic. She looked horrible and delusional. Claire Danes was okay as a young Cosette. Marius is quite forgettable.

What makes this film different? No Thenardiers and no Eponine! They also changed the ending. You will not see Valjean dying. Did the producers back in the 90’s think it was too depressing to have been true to the book? Probably. It’s still worth seeing how it compares to the other interpretations. I am currently re-reading Victor Hugo’s text, and the adaptation I have yet to see is the full musical on Broadway or West End (which might not happen at all in my lifetime). The Oscars are up soon and I can’t wait for the Original Song musical production of this! 🙂

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