Jean Valjean is a convict, on the run in 19th century France from the vicious police inspector Javert. With the help of a bishop who decides to give him sanctuary, Valjean vows to turn his life around and successfully does so; we see him years later, the owner of a factory and the mayor of his town. Javert still hunts for Valjean, and when he arrests a man that he falsely believes to be him, the real Valjean is filled with woe. Can he stand by and let an innocent man pay for his crimes? Meanwhile, one of his factory workers, Fantine, is forced into a life of prostitution, and after a vicious attack, Valjean agrees to look after and care for her daughter. Valjean reveals to the public who he actually is, and he begs Javert for forgiveness, saying he has a girl who is his responsibility now. When Javert refuses, Valjean fights him and escapes, frees the young girl from her keepers, and they run away again to find a new identity. A decade later, as rebellion builds in the streets against the oppressive and wealthy French monarchy, Valjean's daughter, Cosette, falls for a young rebel. Valjean decides to assist in the revolution, and once again encounters Javert, spying on the rebels in disguise. When Valjean has a chance to execute Javert but grants him freedom, it leaves Valjean concerned that his life will never be the same, leaves Javert confused why his enemy would show him mercy, and grants the rebellion's opponents further strength as the battle wages on.
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Best part of story, including ending:
The story is a classic, full of unrequited romances, a series of well-sketched characters, a sweeping scale, and plenty of wartime conflict.
Best scene in story:
The man who loves Cosette is loved by another, and when she sings her tragic ballad, "On My Own," it's difficult to find yourself unmoved.
Opinion about the main character:
Valjean is a terrific character, but Hugh Jackman struggles to hit the high notes, and his director, constantly shoving the camera too close to the faces of his actors, does him no favors.