Les Miserables (2012)

Many people in America are unaware of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. This important piece of French history contributed to the French Revolution with the commoners rising up against the nobility. The French Revolution has been used as a backdrop for many pieces of literature, movies, and music. However, none of this compares to the 2012 movie musical Les Miserables based on the Victor Hugo novel.

Jean Valjean is released on parole for robbery. Before leaving he says good-bye to Javert, a guard at the prison, there he informs him that they will meet again when Valjean has committed a crime or broken his patrol. Javert’s words prove true when Valjean steals some silver from a priest. However, when brought back, the priest has sympathy for him and encourages him to use the silver to “become an honest man.” Having pure guilt over what he has done, Valjean starts to rebuild his life to create a meaningful one of good.

The film then flashes forward to when Valjean has become mayo of a town. Through this he runs many factories, while visiting one of them he breaks up a fight between two of the workers. He tries to fix what has been done, only for Javert to show up. Upon leaving them it is revealed that one of the factory workers, a young woman named Fantine, has an illegitimate daughter. Fantine known for her beauty and rejecting her bosses sexual advances is fired. After being thrown out onto the street, Fantine resorts to prostitution to feed herself and support her daughter who is living with an innkeeper.

In the meantime, Valjean is shown to have rebuilt his completely from the one that he had before. One night while out he sees Fantine be assaulted by a potential customer. Knowing that Fantine was only defending herself, he assists her in avoiding arrest. Learning of Fantine’s plight and his ignorance, he takes her and sends for her child. However, it is revealed that Javert has always had his thought that the mayor is really Valjean. Yet, Javert learns that “Jean Valjean” has been arrested. With this new word, Valjean’s conscious is conflicted with revealing the truth about himself or not. He decides to reveal himself right before Fantine dies. After meeting Javert again, he manages to prevent himself from getting arrest heading out to pick up Fantine’s daughter as a promise he made to her to look after.

Valjean arrives at the inn where Cosette is staying. She is living under the cruelty of Madame and Monsieur Thenadier. These two are very greedy and send Cosette out to do many chores that are grueling for an eight year old. Valjean manages to take Cosette and start to rebuild his life with her away from the Thenadiers.

The film then goes to ten years later with the French Revolution in full swing. Valjean does his best to avoid it, in the meantime Cosette has fallen in lvoe with Marius. Cosette and Marius’s relationship is compromised when the Thenadiers see Valjean on the street. Recognizing him he and his cronies try to rob their house at night only to be ousted by Eponine, their daughter. Upon hearing a scream outside, Valjean believes that the police are coming for him and makes arrangements to leave for England the next morning. Meanwhile, Marius decides to stay behind in France with the rebels.

However, these plans do not go according to plan. Valjean and Cosette stay behind in Paris, France.¬†Eponine dies in Marius’s arms, while a young boy is tragically killed. Javert tries to go underground, but is ousted. With Valjean on the side of the rebels, sets Javert free instead of murder him. Javert commits suicide knowing that he cannot live the life he had before. In the meantime, most of Marius’s friends are killed in a raid, with him surviving due to Valjean saving his life.

After recovering from his injuries, Marius and Cosette are married. But, the Thenadiers show up with some blackmail. It is revealed to Marius that Cosette’s father is Jean Valjean,a crook who broke parole. Unwittingly showing Marius a ring that is his, he learns that Valjean is on the one who saved his life. With this news, Cosette and Marius head off to find Valjean .

When they do find him they discover that he is dying. After saying his final good-bye to Marius and Cosette, he sees Fantine. Upon seeing her, she confirms to him that he has lived a good life fulfilling his promise to take care of Cosette. Upon leading his spirit away, he sees the spirit of the priest who gave him the silver proving the he became the honest man he promised. From there he goes to heaven where he is reunited with the many other rebels who had lost their lives in the raid that took place.

Les Miserables came out to critical acclaim in 2012. With the backdrop of the French Revolution this film is a tearjerker filled with love and tragedy. On July 14, 1789, one of the biggest pieces in the history of the French Revolution happened. The Storming of the Bastille would become one of the most well known raids of all time, with the French Revolution coming to life.

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