Les Miserables Movie Review

For my AP World History Movie Review, I chose to watch Les Miserables; a movie based on the inspirational novel by Victor Hugo. I selected this movie because i had a summer assignment on it for ADV English and also because i thought it would be a good idea to watch the movie before reading the book and compare the two afterwards. Watching this and reading the book has helped me in starting out this school year more prepared with my schoolwork. Just like the book, the movie was set in the early 1800’s of Paris amid the aftermath of the French Revolution.

Along with the novel, the movie sort of elaborates upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, and a little bit of the politics. The French Revolution was a time of great turmoil in French History. It began in 1789 and ended in 1799. During the French Revolution, the previous absolute monarchy and the entire social three estate system was overthrown. The Third Estate was tired of being treated how they were. They wanted more respect and an actual say in the government. They were given a tithe for their crops, which caused them starvation and malnutrition.

They had the most trouble paying for bread, while others feasted away. Finally, they began violent revolts. The architecture of France in the late 1700s through the early 1900s was shown throughout the movie, the clothing people wore and the way buildings looked back then. The time period of France in the movie was Neo-classicism. Architecture was often flip-flops from one extreme to the other, so after the frivolous and light-filled Rococo style (like in most parts of the movie), buildings were pared to classical symmetry. As the reign of Louis XVI began, Paris entered a period of Neo-classicism.

The severe style was inspired by Roman and Greek architectural theories. The style also reflects a desire for plain, unadorned materials, combined with extremely logical floor plans and design. Even after Louis XVI was beheaded, his style of Neo-classicism continued without change. This was partly because the Revolution was chaotic, giving architects little opportunity to invent a new style. The main major theme of the movie was some Christian themes of redemption, forgiveness, and sacrifice; all together, Grace. There were instances of grace all throughout the movie, as well as in the book.

Jean Valjean was the main character that portrayed grace in many instances such as forgiving a former guard, Javert, for continuously trying to arrest him and ruin his life. Valjean spared his life during the revolution and released him from the revolting third estate. Even after his life was spared, Javert arrested Valjean once more but soon after let him go and committed suicide. The acts of grace throughout the movie affected me emotionally and gave me some inspiration to treat others the way I’d want to be treated. I think that today’s society could use more grace.

It’d make the world such a peaceful place to live if grace were portrayed more. Since grace is so called “a God given gift”, it should be used more to make the world a better place and make the people who live in it much more kind. Also, this movie moved me emotionally and mentally, putting people in poverty into my mind. I felt bad for how the poor were treated back then, never having any money or enough food, some women having to turn to prostitution or selling their hair just to get by. Overall, “Les Miserables” was a very good movie and i hope to go see the newest version coming out in December.

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