I first watched this movie when I was 15 years old and I fell in love with the story. This movie also introduced me to one of my favorite actors, Liam Neeson. It has been a couple of years since I've seen this movie but with the upcoming new release of the musical movie version, I had to watch Liam Neeson's version again to get into the spirit (a very sad one of course, since it's a very sad story).
The story of Jean Valjean is completely tragic. He is a convict who was recently released on parole after 20 years of hard labor for stealing bread. During his incarceration, Valjean became very mean and has embodied the image of a convict. He is shown kindness by a priest who helps change Valjean's life. Given a second chance, Valjean decides not to meet his parole but instead find a better life by helping others in need.
The acting was superb. Liam Neeson did an excellent job portraying the suffering, lost soul of Jean Valjean. When he becomes "free", I can't help but shed a few tears for the beloved Valjean. Uma Thurman gets into character with Fatine and lets us see the unfairness to women back during these days. Clare Danes embodies the innocence of Cosette, though I do admit that I liked the child actress more playing the young Cosette. And then there's Geoffrey Rush who plays Inspector Javert. Ooh, does this character make my blood boil! Rush does an extraordinary job with this character. I cannot help but want to rip Javert's eyes out throughout the movie!
This movie inspired me to read the book. Not immediately though because I was intimidated by its massive size. After a few years since watching the movie for the first time, Jean Valjean's story kept calling out to me and I gave in to reading the book, and I'm so glad that I did. It did took me two months to read but it was worth it! The story is so sad and tragic! The characters are also so well developed.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is one of my most beloved, favorite books. I have to thank this movie version into helping to push me to read the book. I love this book so much that I hope to read it again soon, even if it takes me another two month. Like the trailer says below, Les Miserables is "an epic of the heart":