|Eponine (Samantha Barks) and Marius at the barricades|
If weeping copiously throughout a film is an indication of its artistic value, then, yes, Les Misérables is a good film as this is exactly what I did during, and after, viewing it recently. This film pushes so many emotional buttons it is difficult to remain objective about its artistic worth: the fallen Fantine's (Anne Hathaway) love for her daughter Cossette who has to resort to prostitution to feed her child; a good man's persecution under unjust laws (Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean) by a harsh law official Javert (Russell Crowe); the revolutionary fervor of the June rebellion in Paris in 1832; and, romantic love between the orphaned Cossette (Amanda Seyfried) and the revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne).
Other aesthetic choices rankle ... why dress Fantine's fellow prostitutes like obscene dolls in surreal makeup replete with foul and ribald dispositions? Why not represent them as they likely were - as desperate women with no other options but to live off the streets? If only the revolutionaries were not so perfectly groomed and handsome rather than the dirty ragamuffins that I imagined them to be. Could Javert and Valjean have been more nuanced rather than literally representing two extremes of the moral spectrum - utter villain and unimpeachable saint?