Les Miserables was an incredible movie to watch in the movie theater. I only had one small gripe which was Russell Crowe playing Javert. Now I haven’t seen all of the movies Russell Crowe has starred in. Just the absolutely marvelous Gladiator and pretty good Robin Hood. Actually I’ve seen one more called A Beautiful Mind as well. I think Russell Crowe had just left such a strong impression with Gladiator as the character Maximus it wasn’t easy for me personally to wipe that slate clean before watching the next movies. Robin Hood didn’t feel jarring and at first I thought it was because it also takes place back in time. After watching Les Miserables I’m convinced it’s because in both Gladiator and Robin Hood he is playing the character that is fighting for justice and also the character I sympathize. I don’t think I even realized the main character was Russell Crowe when I watched A Beautiful Mind, just that he looked vaguely familiar. In any case, I think it just really bothered me that Russell Crowe was playing the character that was hunting down the main character, Jean Valjean.
It’s really hard to just say that it’s because I was used to Russell Crowe being the good guy and it was hard to see him as a bad guy. Because he wasn’t necessarily a bad guy. He was upholding the law and making sure the law was enforced, but everything to him was black and white. He didn’t put up with grey. I mean we rely on law enforcement to keep us safe, but the situations that the character Javert was in opposed to Jean Valjean just made him seem like the bad guy when he technically wasn’t. He was just doing his duty. In a sense it wasn’t a movie about good vs. evil, but rather a movie about strict law enforcement vs. compassion & forgiveness.
Now after Les Miserables was released on dvd I purchased a digital copy and have been watching it over and over and over again. I’m not joking when I say that I have literally seen Les Miserables over 20 times. Of course, most of the time I just have it playing in the background as a tiny window in the corner of my screen while I’m working on other things. It’s kind of similar to playing the soundtrack only I can occasionally sit here and watch all the emotion on the screen. I do have a habit of watching the movies I like repeatedly. Some people can’t understand why. Why would you want to watch a movie you’ve already seen before? I don’t like to watch all movies repeatedly, just the ones that have some sort of value for me.
Les Miserables is one movie that I will continue to re-watch. There are so many underlying values and emotions and conflicts to mule over. I haven’t read the book but I have a copy and I also recently downloaded the audiobook version from audible. I was listening to it during my 30 minute walks with Kip and I lost track of how many days it took before Jean Valjean was even mentioned. It felt like I was listening to an entire book about the priest. Not that it wasn’t intriguing, just that I already knew the story line and I felt impatient to get to it. I think this is why you should never read an abridged version of anything, or watch a movie before reading the book. I had thought about reading Les Miserables before watching the movie, but if you’ve ever read or seen the hard copy in a bookstore… well, let’s just say it is not a short read.
Photo from HDwallpapers, all rights belong to Universal Studios.