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Here is Victor Hugo's greatest and most powerful novel.  I saw this movie with my 14-year-old daughter, Kathleen.  We really enjoyed it.  It is basically the story of law verses grace, sin and redemption.
LesMiserables.jpg (13500 bytes)
LES MISERABLES
(1998)
Review By David Bruce
Web master HollyWoodJesus.com

Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean. Geoffrey Rush as Javert. Uma Thurman as Fantine. Claire Danes as Cosette. Hans Matheson as Marius.

Mandalay Entertainment presents a Sarah Radclyffe production, a James Gorman production, distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Directed by Bille August.
Screenplay by Rafael Yglesias based on the novel by Victor Hugo.
Produced by Sarah Radclyffe and James Gorman. Co-producer Caroline Hewitt.
Director of photographer Jorgen Persson.
Production designer Anna Asp.
Editor Janus Billeskov-Jansen.
Costume design Gabriella Pescucci.
Music Basil Poledouris.
Running time: 2 hours, 9 minutes.

REVIEW 

Here is Victor Hugo's greatest and most powerful novel.  I saw this movie with my 14-year-old daughter, Kathleen.  We really enjoyed it.  It is basically the story of law verses grace, sin and redemption.

misery.gif (16112 bytes)Liam Neeson plays Jean Valjean, a petty thief set on the tough path of redemption.  He spent 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread.  Prison life corrupted the naive and vulnerable Valjean.  Upon release he steals some silverware from a church.  The priest at the church not only forgives him but gives him a set of candlesticks.  Valjean learns about forgiveness and kindness for the first time.  Through this gracious man he is introduced to a Christian way of life.
lesmiserables1.jpg (10383 bytes) The man in the hat, Javert,  represents the Law.  He pursues Valjean for twenty years despite Valjean's transformation to a life of grace and Christ-likeness.
lesmisstills2th.jpg (3003 bytes)Fantine represents the acts of grace that Valjean practices out of the depths of his transformed heart. He cares for her as she dies despite the fact she had been a prostitute. He then lovingly raises her illegitimate daughter as though she was his own.
The only way for the conflict between grace and the law to be resolved is for the judgment of the sin to be carried out.  The judgement for sin is death and the result of grace is life. You'll have to see the film to see how this plays out through the sacrificial and substitionary death of Javert.
VISITOR RESPONSES:

EXCELLENT
Subject: Les Miserables
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001
From: Charity

I thought the film was excellent, very thought-provoking and deeply spiritual. Why on earth didn't Liam Neeson get an Oscar for this performance? The film was pretty much completely ignored by Hollywood that year... a pity, since it is the only good Christian-based production to come out of smutville in a long time.

Don't be turned off due to the reviews that state it doesn't stand up to the book. Personally I was very satisfied with the ending... I hated the last chapters of the book and was disgusted with the musical's overly sexual tones and profanity. It's a wonderful movie -- the only film that my grandmother (who is completely anti-Hollywood, anti-movie) will watch!
- Charity

#1 spot for best movie and Hans Matheson!
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001
From: DamslNotNDstrss

I must say, this movie was absolutely magnificent! I watched it in my French class, and not one person said a word during it. All eyes stared at the screen nonstop. This movie really touched me, and the plot was wonderful. The characters were brilliant and portrayed extremely well. Les Miserables has definitely taken the no. 1 spot on my list. Never have I seen a movie that kept me wanting so much more... and might I add, Hans Matheson is quite beautiful. Oh... his enchanting eyes, and creamy complexion... Hans Matheson is absolutely the most gorgeous male I've seen in many. His acting is so real, and tasteful. I hope everyone loved the movie as much as I. And if you haven't seen it, I advise you to, a.s.a.p.!!!
P.s.~ Email me at: DamslNotNDstrss@aol.com (If you would like!)

DISAPPOINTING
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001
From: Pat

I just re-watched the video with my family again last night, and find that its just as disappointing as I remember. I am with all the others who missed Eponine. Her character is much deeper and more tragic than Cossette's. I think that the characters of Jean Valjean and Javert were well represented, as were many of the events of the book, but they left out far too much! Why put in the little boys (the ones who refer to Gavroch as "pappa" but not Eponine? Their characters are much more "expendable" in the whole story!) I can understand removing some parts of the story (how Valjean initially leaves the convent would be a good example) to speed along the story, but I can't understand the few places they have utterly changed his character! For instance, he would never have come to the point of losing his temper with Cossette as he did on the wall going into Paris. But, for someone who does not live and breath the book, I guess it is a good story. Not as good, but good, and you still get the idea of redemption. I also like what the Hollywood Jesus site states about living by the Law leads to death. We are not able to fulfill the Law, that is why we have Jesus. I love the book, but would recommend the movie to anyone who can't face the book yet.
Pat
Please do not list my last name or email

THE MOVIE vs BOOK
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
From: Erin

I have taught this novel to grade 12 students, and as part of the unit, I gave them the option of comparing the movie to the book. Without a doubt, hands down, after seeing the movie every student came back livid. Not only were favourite characters missing or favourite scenes eliminated, but the most powerful part of the book was not in the movie. How could the writers in their right minds take such an amazing story and NOT FINISH IT???? It is in the end that the power of the story lies - Cosette's wedding and their treatment of Jean, and the end of his life .... and the gravestone. My students could not believe that they cut out the last 100 pages or so and called it "Victor Hugo's Les Miserables". So for those of you who saw this movie and loved it ... chances are you never saw the Broadway show or read the book. If you loved the movie, the musical or the book will have an impact on you like few others do. My students urge you. Hugo truly was an amazing man - and this book truly has the power to change a person's life. In Hugo's words he wrote the book for a definite reason ... "While through the working of laws and customs there continues to exist a condition of social condemnation which artificially creates a human hell within civilization, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; while the three great problems of this century, the degradation of man in the proletariat, the subjection of women through hunger, the atrophy of the child by darkness, continue unresolved; while in some regions social asphyxia remains possible; in other words, and in still wider terms, while ignorance and poverty persist on earth, books such as this cannot fail to be of value." This story rises above time and period - above country and culture. If only there would come a day when this story is no longer needed ... alas, perhaps that is why God inspired Hugo to write it.
Erin

A SHADOW OF A MASTERPIECE
Subject: Les Miserasble the movie - a shadow of a masterpiece
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000
From: "Martin O'Dwyer"

G'day people. I am very surprised to see so many people stressing their love of this movie. I strongly advise all of you to see the musical masterpiece of this epic tale. The movie was okay, and reasonably acted. However it lacked the theatrical brilliance of the musical version or the depth that the novel reached. I did enjoy however the Christian edge the movie had - the message of forgiveness and mercy I thought were portrayed well.
Email if you wanna bother, jezz281@yahoo.com.
Thanx for ya time.

DOES VALJEAN FAIL AS A CHRISTIAN CHARACTER?
Subject: Les Miseralbes Christian Character
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000
From: Darci

My brother and I saw this movie a while ago and the discussion came up of 'Christians' being portrayed in movies. They are usually corrupt in one way or another. We agreed that Valjean is one of the best characters to ever portray christian values that either of us have ever seen in the movies. My question is this, at the end, by letting Javert kill himself, does Valjean's character fail? Whether Valjean is a christian or not-even more so becuase he is-doesn't he seem to go out of character by allowing Javert to die?
--Let me know what you think!! -darci

My response: No, not at all. Read the book by Victor Hugo.
Movies always consolidate events and characters. You are taking the movie too literal, however.

I must say that your idea of a Christian might be slightly off base. You say, "Whether Valjean is a christian or not-even more so because he is-doesn't he seem to go out of character by allowing Javert to die?" Well, I am an imperfect person, too.
I sin every day. If I take your statement in a strict sense, than I am not a Christian. If my own self righteousness makes me a Christian
than I am doomed.

The story is about two imperfect people one finds grace, the other operates under the law.
The Law brings death. Grace brings life. That is the lesson.

Thank you for writing. I appreciate that May God bless you
Warmly David Bruce

TOUCHED BY JEAN VALJEAN
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999
From: Sherly

From Selenity, ever since I watched Les Miserables , I was touched by the words The priest said to Jean Valjean ! hehehe . But my Favorite actor is Marius ( Hans Matheson )He is so Cute ! He acts like he was really in love with Cosette . If anybody knows more about Hans, E-mail me ! pinkmoongal@hotmail.com
thanks !hehehe......

CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THE STORY
July 1, 1999.
I loved this movie. It was the first time that I was exposed to the Les Misérables story and now I can hardly get enough of it!!! I've even started my way through the (huge) novel. Now, in reply to everyone's comments about Hans Matheson, I have information and pictures of him at my site...
http://welcome.to/HansMatheson ~Kae~

CHANGES YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE
June 25, 1999.
The movie was great. It was just so different than what I expected. Some of the parts where very shocking to me, like how people treated each other. But then the romance between Cosette and Marious was great. In all, a must see movie, it really changes your outlook on life. I'm going to see the musical play in a few weeks!! :)

PLAYED EPONINE, MANY TIMES, ON STAGE
June 25, 1999.
I too was disappointed that Eponine was not included in the movie. I have played that part many times on the stage and believe that she is an incredible asset to the story. However, at the end of the movie, when I was reading the credits, I did find her name. I guess I just missed her while watching the movie! She didn't have a big part probably though. I also loved Hans Matheson and I thought Claire Danes did an excellant job as well. PLease, anyone, fell free to e-mail me at
CaityRose3@aol.com with any information on upcoming movies with Hans and/or pics!

HAS INFO ON HANS MATHESON
March 3, 1999.
The movie was wonderful! Though i was not too happy with Clair Danes acting job! Any-ways, I found all the other actors and actresses did a great job! Hans Matheson was wonderful! I have some information on him but no pictures. If you want my info, have pics or just wanna talk about Hans, e-mail me at:
indramduh@aol.com or bonnieblu6@aol.com I would luv to talk to other fans of the movie, or people who feel differently. Your page was great! thanks for making it! I will continue to write information on Hans Matheson as I get it. Luv ya all. --Sarah (future actress =)
ps. I Luv Hans (not only for his looks) but for his acting talent, so if any1 has any new info on movies he will be in, let me know! BYE!

NEVER WANTED IT TO END
Feb 19 1999,
I thought the movie was beautiful. it was my first impresstion of the story at all, so I have no idea how much better the book is. my mother did buy me the unabridged version of the book, and some day I wish to brave out the 1462 (or sumthin like that) pages and find out more about it. The story really moved me, especially valjean and marius. oh gosh, here I am, being a cute-boy loving girl, but I found Hans Matheson very attractive. sigh. I have watched the movie 3 times, within about 4 days, and I have to say, I still love it. I even invited a few of my friends over to watch it, they just left, and everyone one of them left my house in awe. I think this has to be one of the best movies I have seen. it ranks up there with Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet. but, I thought the ending was a little weak. I never wanted it to end. if anyone has anymore information on Hans Matheson, oh dear lord please wright me
. burnside00@hotmail.com --Katie

I'VE GOT HANS PICTURES
This movie kinda is a turn-off in the beginning. I love the concept of how kind Jean Valjean is kind no matter the situation. The best part of the movie is when we get into the romance with Marius. I think this is a real major part of the movie but the movie webpage summaries don't seem to think so (it is usually not concluded much in the movie summaries). Because of this, most sights make Hans Matheson seem irrelevant. There is a Webpage about him though, at www.expage.com/page/hansmatheson26. There aren't any pictures of him because so far, there are no pictures of him anywhere on the internet to put there.  Back to the movie. I love how all the characters are portrayed. Liam Neeson did a wonderful job and should definitely get an Academy Award for his performance. The balance of good and evil, happiness and sadness that is in the book and the movie makes it the masterpiece it is.  The only thing that I didn't like was that after I had watched this movie the first time, I was overwhelmed by the impact this movie made on me. I was convinced that this was the best movie I had ever seen. But when I watched this again a second time, I didn't feel all the power of the movie because I knew everything that was going to happen. This was a disappointment

BEAUTIFUL
hi!!ý think it was the most beautiful that ý have ever seen....but ý have a problem please help ý cant find hans's picturess if you find please e mail me -- sindirella78@hotmail.com

LOVED THE MOVIE
Jan 17 1999,
I loved the movie and the book. Hans is fine, if you all have ANY pictures of him- send them to my address below. My favorite part is when Cosette and Jean Valjean were trying to enter Paris.They also should have added Eponine, they left her out.-Other than that Hans finished off the show.

BEST MOVIE
Jan 16, 1999.
Les Miserables was the best movie I ever saw, and I wanna see some HANS MATHESON'S PICTURES!! That's all I had to say ...I think that all the girls on this planet will agree. Alexandra and Joelle

STARTING HANS LIST
Jan 15, 1999.
From LadyOrion- I just saw it last night for the first time. I've seen the thickness of the book and though I've never read it, I assume condesing was done. However, I think it was one of the most moving movies I have ever seen. Marious and Valjean were certainly my favorite characters. I thought Hans was quite incredible, and not only for his looks. Quite a lot of potential in those eyes! I love every scene with Hans in it. I'm going to be creating a list for Hans fans on onelist. Please stop by so we can all compare notes. My email is ladyorion@buffymail.com. Anyone with Hans info is very welcome to say so.

HANS MATHESON WAS GREAT
Dec 30, 1999,
Hey I just saw the movie and I have to say it was one of the best movies of the year. Hans Matheson IS cute but that wasn't the only reason I liked it!!! If anyone finds any info on him please e-mial me sommey@hotmail .com thanx. Well i gotta go and try and find some Hans stuff again! This page is neat thanx for letting us all write! C'ya Sommer

ACTORS DID GREAT JOB
From Amanda-
Well, I must say I really enjoyed this movie. But one thing sorta wrecked it...I saw the musical in Antwerp, Belgium. The atmosphere was GREAT but it was in Flemish. I didn't understand ALL of it but I still thought it was better than the movie...THEY LEFT OUT ONE OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS for crying out loud!!! Marius' best friend....I was VERY disappointed ...other than that, I personally think ALL the actors did a GREAT job. Especially Claire, no actress can cry like her...she's GREAT! And I was introduced to Hans Matheson...he's AWESOME! Well, just thought I'd leave my views on that. If you care to write me...here's my address:
streetnix@hotmail.com Thank you.

VERY HUMAN
From Cassie-
I think this movie was great, as far as movies go. I read the book/script and was deeply touched by the story. I wish they had included Eponine in the movie though. I think Liam Neeson did a good job of playing Valjean, in the sense that he made him a good person, but also very human. The way Valjean was played, there wasn't an element of "I am a saint, I do everything"; I was glad about that.

HATED ENDING
From Tola -
I hated the ending, the film was nothing compared to the book or the musical, and there were alot of other things that I didn't like about this film. But the thing I hated most was that they'd taken away Eponine. She was the only reason I went to see the movie, because I'd heard it was not very good, and I didn't want to get disappointed. I didn't like it at all. I'm advising all my friends NOT to see this film, but instead read the book and see the wonderful musical!! By the way, the only reason I didn't walk out in the middle of the picture was Hans.

BEST MUSICAL TURNED INTO MOVIE
From Lori -
This was by far one of the best musicals turned into a movie I have ever seen. And I know it's been said before by many other fans, but I NEED pics and info about Hans Matheson> Does anyone have any good links? My e-mail address is
WEETIE@hotmail.com Thanks!!

FAVORITE MUSICAL, BUT...
This has got to be my favorite musical of all time, and I think that the movie was great!! I was a little disapointed that they did not include Eponine, but I still thouroughly enjoyed the film. One thing though.......can someone PLEASE tell me where I can find pictures of Hans Matheson?????????? If you have any info on where I can find this talented and very gorgeous young actor, please E-mail me at: stella_luna_k@yahoo.com. I would appreciate it very much! Thank you and Happy Holidays!! -"Stella"

BEST FILM VERSION, BUT...
The best film version of Les Mis so far. OK so Hans is cute, but I think there was more to Marius than just his looks. So what happened to Eponine and Enjolras and Thenardiers?? That was the disappointing part. The importance of the novel is based on ALL it's characters, so just a select few!!! The point is all the different stories and relationships that are intertwined... I watched the movie expecting it to capture the depth of the book and the emotions of the musical. I was quite disappointed. It left me very cold. And the ending?? Well, it seems like they wanted to leave the end to the viewer's imagination, which is incorrect, as V. Hugo wrote his ending, they should have respected that. It really feels like the director had his favourite parts in mind, such as the Valjean-Javert relationship, and refused to show us any other possible relationships by simply removing the characters. Anyway, enough talk, who says I could have done better, huh?  I'd appreciate other views at n.husain@virgin.net

I AM BIASED
Fiammetta:
I totally agree with Julia...Les Miserables is my favourite book, and I did not even expect much of the film...but it was rather dissappointing to find out that all the "meaningless" characters I happen to love the most, Eponine (her especially!), Enjolras, the villainous Threnadiers and others had been left out. They had cut out important sections of the plot, violated the delicacy and depth of the original characters (one of the most annoying examples was Marius...) ..and just to make it clear: I was devastated when I found out they had left out Eponine, my favourite, her love for Marius and her suicide. I cried when I read the book and I cried in London when I saw the musical, but the movie left me completely cold. Where was the real suffering of the people? the real Gavroche? Marius (Hans Matheson might have been cute, but he definetly did not get the "idea" of Marius)? ...well, Cosette..i never liked her anyways!Perhaps I am biased because I love the book so much I cant take anything different...(and I wont even start to talk about the Disney interpretation of Notre Dame de Paris...)
maija_pollari@hotmail.com

GORGEOUS MARIUS
This I must say was the best movie ever! I thought the best part was when marius and cosette first saw each other. I would like to know how valjeans, cosettes, and the gorgeous marius's life was after. I love hans matheson so much he is so gorgeous! (if you would like to talk more about the excellent film with me and you have yahoo chat my name is brummie_girl or custer56

PICTURES OF HANS?
From Katrine.
I think it is one of the best movies that's around now. I would defendly like to know more about Hans Matheson - he´s totally cute!  If anyone got or get pictures or anything else, please mail it to me! My adress are:
katrinelorentzen@hotmail.com

HANDS ON HANS
I was deeply moved by this film, it definitely showed how even when we mess up life has away of turning it around for the good in the end. Moreover, if anyone does have info. on Hans, please by all means let me get my "HANS" on it. 'smirk' Thanks! miladyk@hotmail.com

LACKING EPONINE
Julie:
I thought that this movie was a poor adaptation of my favorite book. They completely cut out important, though secondary characters, that help tie the film together. They also handled Javert's death completely wrong. He would never have killed himself in front of anyone. It was not his way. By doing this, they completely changed his whole character. The lack of Eponine and the interpretation of Marius was disappointing as was the lack of Jean Valjean's and Cosette's future. They did a half-hearted job of converting one of the best novels to film. They should have left it alone, it cannot compete with either the book or the musical.

WE WERE TRANSFIXED
My son and I watched this movie as if transfixed. The power of the story and the incredible juxtaposition of the saintly Valjean against Javert, the symbol of the past he cannot escape, totally engrossed us. It was fascinating to read a Christian take on it.

From Cheryl: I loved Les Miserables! It is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I think Liam Neeson did an excellent job. And Marius! wow!

From Angel: I just saw this movie over the weekend , I really liked it, except for the fact that Eponine wasn't in it, and that Fantine's death really freaked me out. HANS IS TOTALLY CUTE! Thanx for letting me write on your page~Angel.

Özlem Bilginer: Here are my comments. Hello! i really liked this movie..when I was going to primary school I read it's novel and I found it wonderful! it was so special novel 4 me..and when I see this movie at cinemas I wanted to watch it immediately..I loved Marius (Hans Matheson) if anyone could send me his biography pictures and information about him i'll be very glad and happy! by the way i am from Turkey.

HÝ! i really need an information and biography about Hans Matheson! if you findanything about him,please send it to me!i 'll be very glad! obilginer@superonline.com


From Juliette:
It was OK, even though they cut out alot of characters- including Eponine my favorite one! The movie can't compare to the Broadway or the book. Hans Matheson (Marius) is TOTALLY cute!

From Andrea Delucchi: Hey, I liked it but I think they should have shown more at the end I mean he just walks off. They could have shown a little of his future. anyway the movie was great. Bye~ Andrea Delucchi   Glenda700@aol.com

From Private: I saw it with one of my friends and we couldn´t speak, this film was something really special. We just loved it...and both of us know now how our dreamman looks like, like Marious, he´s georgeous.

 

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