Les Misérables
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Not a strict adaptation of the oft-filmed Victor Hugo classic, director Claude Lelouch's ambitious epic instead focuses on the story of two men, a father and a son, whose life stories bear striking similarities to Hugo's character Jean Valjean. The father is Henri Fortin (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a chauffeur (in 1900) wrongly accused of his employer's murder. Like Valjean, he is subjected to a harsh and unfair prison sentence. While Henri vainly attempts to escape his unjust fate, his family suffers, with his wife forced to raise their young son alone. The film jumps ahead several… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The family reads the Hugo novel aloud to him while they travel together, and apparently they all come to realize how much their lives are like great literature."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"If it were shorter, we wouldn't know what misery really feels like."
‑ Rita Kempley, Washington Post
"Belmondogives not just the best performance of this film but one of the best of his long and admirable career."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Arresting images, the timeless battle of good and evil and triumph over insurmountable odds combine to lend a worldly veneer to this three-hour epic. In terms of human destiny, it speaks volumes."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"Epic French screen adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic 1862 novel."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"It's part of the magic Lelouch has worked that his story-of-all-stories theme matches the catch-all inclusiveness of his old-fashioned celluloid showmanship."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Exasperatingly overstuffed, the movie finally proves disarming (to a point) on spectacle alone."
‑ , USA Today
"This is old-fashioned, tasteful European filmmaking."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A stunning achievement."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"What is most remarkable about the picture is Belmondo's work in three roles."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Examiner
"Aspectacular-looking film with those great settings and costumes that are a hallmark of French period films."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Lelouch overworks this narrative scheme terribly: By reiterating his point and leaving nothing to our imagination, his cross-referencing shtick turns dull and belabored."
‑ Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
"A surprisingly effective updating of Victor Hugo's novel."
‑ , Film4
"The acting in the film is top notch."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
More reviews for Les Misérables on Rotten Tomatoes