Awards season is in full swing and as expected the latest film adaptation of the legendary Broadway musical “Les Miserables” is in the running for the biggest awards. Despite a massive reputation however, not everyone is familiar with the characters and the epic story of this exceptionally popular musical.
For the uninitiated, here is a handy scorecard to help prepare a new generation of fans for the arrival of “Les Miserables.”
Jean Val Jean – Hugh Jackman
Jean Val Jean was imprisoned after stealing bread to feed a starving family. Upon his parole, having been poisoned by the cruelty of the justice system, Val Jean turns to a real life of crime only to be redeemed by a remarkable act of kindness. His faith in humanity restored, Val Jean aims to help others only to have his past come back to haunt him.
Javert – Russell Crowe
Inspector Javert is a man who believes in the law in black and white. In his mind, Jean Val Jean’s crime is not diminished by circumstance. When Val Jean disappears, breaking his parole, it will further not matter to Javert why he’s disappeared or what he’s done to help others since his disappearance; no matter what Javert will once again bring Val Jean to justice.
Fantine – Anne Hathaway
Fantine is a young mother working in sweatshop conditions to support her daughter, Cosette. When she loses her job, which happens to be in a factory owned by the newly moneyed Jean Val Jean, she quickly spirals downward into the ugly side of London filled with pimps and prostitutes. After finding out that he’d allowed such horrors to be visited upon Fantine, Jean Val Jean vows to care for her and her daughter.
Cosette – Isabelle Allen and Amanda Seyfried
Cosette is the daughter of Fantine. While her mother spends endless days working and saving to care for her, Cosette lives the life of a young slave in the employ of a con-man innkeeper, Thenardier (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his scheming wife (Helena Bonham Carter). Cosette’s life is changed forever when Jean Val Jean comes for her and raises her as his own daughter.
Marius – Eddie Redmayne
Marius is the scion of a rich family who has foregone his place in society in favor of fighting for revolution. When Marius first spies Cosette in a town square his fate is sealed, he will love her forever.
Eponine – Samantha Barks
Among the most tragic figures of “Les Miserables,” Eponine is the daughter of the same innkeeper who once owned poor Cosette. As adults, their lives couldn’t be more different as Cosette is moneyed and cared for and Eponine lives by her wits with her thieving parents. Just as Marius fell in love at first sight with Cosette, poor Eponine has fallen for Marius. Will she use her knowledge of who Cosette is to help Marius or selfishly sabotage their love out of jealousy?