Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Les Miz as history?


Pretty good history, says historian Bruce Chadwick at History News Network:
that's the triumph of Les Misérables -- though the film features Jean Valjean, Fantine, the fanatical Javert, and adorable little Cosette, it's fundamentally the story of the tumult of nineteenth-century France.
We learn much about French clothing, architectures, poverty, business, the rich, government and the penal system (thankfully, the playwrights behind the musical trimmed Hugo's chapter expounding on the history of the Parisian sewer system). The motivation(s) behind the June uprising -- particularly the reason why so many bourgeois students take to the barricades -- are nicely explored, as is the reason why the rebellion failed.
You had better go for the history, he suggests:
 The absymal singing is a big reason why the movie's power and beauty lies in its history. 
Having suffered through the musical years ago, I've been avoiding the movie.