There are movies you regret living long enough to have seen. And then there are those films that remove your zest for life and have you cursing the cruel dickbag gods for not releasing you before the fucking credits roll. Les Miserables is the latter: an excruciating (nearly) 3 hour descent into the horrors and despair of the 19th century French uprising known as the July Revolt – and the toll it took on its citizenry.
The year is 1815. It’s been 2 decades since the French Revolution and France is still a dumpster fire in terms of quality of life (less guillotines, though). People are starving….often forced into indentured slavery or prostitution (or both); and children run wild in the streets without parents and often without limbs. A petty thief (Jean Valjean) who’s spent 19 years in prison for stealing bread finally gets paroled but not before receiving a stern reprimand from a humorless, tone-deaf policeman named Jovert (stoically played by an uncomfortable and bored looking Russell Crowe). Shortly thereafter, Valjean (Hugh Jackman at his most teary-eyed and insufferable) throws caution to the wind, skips parole, steals from a church and eventually (some years later) winds up the sole caretaker of a dead hooker’s kid (with the film climaxing during the revolt of 1832) all while the bored cop hunts him relentlessly (but completely incompetently as Valjean lives out in the open pretty much 100% of the time).