The word miserable forms the core of this title for a reason. First of all, nobody in their right mind wants to read a thousand-page French novel, and when forced to, usually describes the experience as "not as good as a kick in the teeth" or "miserable." This is also what the screenwriter and numerous French literary critics uttered upon hearing the novel was going to be adapted to film. Turn a huge novel into a two hour movie? Sounds miserable.
Nevertheless, it had to be done, since millions of people had paid good money in New York and London to listen to folks sing about poverty and how, if they walked to close to the buildings, people would toss buckets of shit on them. What most people would call a "lack of plumbing" the French refer to as "hospitality." Just ask the British.
Anyway, when things suck that bad, a kind act by a French person is like the hand of God reaching down and giving your genitals a little tickle, which is what changes Jean Valjean's (Liam Neeson) life. After being imprisoned, he starts helping people, eventually befriending the helpless Fantine (Uma Thurman), and raising her daughter, Cosette (Claire Danes), after Fantine's death. During this entire time, Valjean is pursued by the single-minded Javert (Geoffrey Rush), who's pissed off that Valjean made Javert play the piano all the time when Javert was just a boy.
You have to forgive Javert though, because all that piano playing and just being French, would turn anybody into an asshole.
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