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"Les Misérables" is a film directed by Tom Hooper, based on the sung-through musical of the same name, based on the nineteenth century novel by Victor Hugo, with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, and the French lyrics translated to English by Herbert Kretzmer.
It is a story of myriad characters, set on the backdrop of suffering nineteenth century France.
The film opens with a gruesome scene of the Toulon Dock, where a hundred or more prisoners attempt to raise a warship, each pulling on ropes, their prisoner numbers stitched on them, heads shaved, dressed in rags. Among them was Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who was imprisoned for nineteen years, because he stole a loaf of bread for his starving nephew.
The police officer, in charge of the prisoners' workforce, Javert (Russel Crowe), oversee them, and then, hands Valjean his parole papers.
Valjean, while on his parole, was rescued by a bishop (Colm Wilkinson), who gave him food and a place to sleep. His lowly convict instincts still lingering in him, Valjean woke up and stole the bishop's silverware and attempted to run away in the night. He was manhandled and brought back by a constable, who called him a thief. However, the bishop claimed that he had given him the silverware. Ashamed by the unfair treatment he received, Valjean decided to renounce his present state of living, break parole and be a better person.
Eight years later, when the state of France is more degraded than ever, the misfortunes of a woman, on an attempt to take care of her child and feed herself, is brought to light. Fantine (Anne Hathaway), after being fired from the factory she worked in, took to immoral ways of earning, only to pay for her child, whom she kept under the care of an inn-keeper and his wife, the Thénardiers(Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter). Valjean, the then mayor of the town, saves Fantine momentarily, by taking her to the hospital, where she dies. Valjean vows to take care of her child, Cosette.
In the meantime, Javert is out to capture the fugitive who escaped parole, whom he called "Prisoner Number 24601".
Another picture of suffering France is painted in Place de le Bastille, Paris, where the beggars are starting an uprising, aided by the students, headed by Enjolras (Aaron Tveit) and Marius (Eddie Redmayne), and they find an unusual enthusiast in Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone), a little boy, the middle child of the Thenardiers, and brother to Éponine (Samantha Barks), who falls madly in love with Marius.
Marius, on seeing the grown-up Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), gets lost in a dream state, where he serenades his love to his friends, angering Enjolras, to whom the mutiny was supposed to be their one and only focus.
The beggars and revolutionary students make their cause known in the funeral procession of General Lamarque, the only man the common people had faith in.
The mightiest of revolutions begin, against the treacherous Javert, Marius, who is stuck between love and patriotism.
"Les Misérables" is a gripping story of the state of affairs in the nineteenth century. It is filled with the most spectacular music, ranging from the heart-wrenching "I Dreamed A Dream" by Anne Hathaway, the spirited "Do You Hear The People Sing?" by the whole cast, and "One Day More", describing the states of each of the main characters, and which is perhaps the most powerful song in the production.
It is a story of the spirit of revolution and teh fight for justice, as expressed by Enjolras and Gavroche, about true love, even if one-sided, as shown by Éponine, and one of the truest lessons of all -
"To love another person is to see the face of God."