Jump to content

Type keyword(s) to search

Les Misérables (2018)


  • Reply
  • Start Topic

Recommended Posts

Quote

The drama is set to premiere Sunday, April 14, 2019 on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

The six-part drama adaptation stars Dominic West (The Affair, The Hour) as Jean Valjean, and David Oyelowo (Selma) as Javert in this landmark drama adaptation. They are joined in this epic event drama by Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply, Love, Rosie), in the role of Fantine.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/shows/les-miserables/

This aired on BBC One Dec. 30, 2018-Feb. 3, 2019.

  • Love 1
Link to comment

Just watched the first episode. Huge fan of the original novel, and have ambivalent feelings about the musical and the film version thereof. I love this so far. 

 I was initially caught off guard by the fact that Andrew Davies’ script is taking it strictly chronologically, but it makes perfect sense. The novel goes back and forth between the characters and different time periods. Seeing the events play out chronologically makes it much clearer which storylines happen concurrently, which is hard to keep track of in the book.

So far, loving Dominic West, Derek Jacobi (they gave Bishop Muriel much more personality here than other versions, which I like) and Lily Collins as Fantine. Oyewolo is just kind of there at the moment, but I hope he gets more to work with later.

  • Love 6
Link to comment

I'm just happy that, for the first time, I'm caught up in this classic story and able to watch it.  All the books, VHS or DVD rentals of the past lost me in the gloomy beginning and was tossed aside.  This time I waited that out and then loved the rest.

  • Love 1
Link to comment

I liked it.  I liked seeing McNulty as Jean Valjean. I liked that it covered parts of the book usually either omitted or cut drastically.  But I wonder how people who are not fans of the books will react.  Will they find it slow?

  • Love 1
Link to comment

Read the unabridged book in college (I was a nerd), but I still loved it. I've always wanted to see a mini series that could really delve into the details and nuances of the book. That being said, I was a little let down by the first hour. I didn't feel the emotional impact of the story that I've loved. I'll probably continue with it, but maybe I need to lower my expectations. Not sure why it's just not hitting me right. Acting?

  • Love 1
Link to comment

It felt "Prince Valiant" cartoonish to me on several occasions and shallow for a book I remember being quite compelling (ages ago) and particularly compared to the Liam Neeson 1998 version (with Uma Thurman as sack-of-potatoes doleful-eyed Fatine and Geoffey Rush as Javert) 

I also wondered about those who only know the story from the musical  -- again if there was enough resonance with this heroic "loser". buit it spent a lot of time on pretty young things so it's probably moot. 

I didn't hate it just felt it could have been a series of photos or story boards and too much arrived as if predicted.  Hope it gets a bit meatier. 

I thought the acting was okay, even good, but the dialog (what there was of it) was mostly at elementary school level..  The story seemed was told by "actions"  .... without explanation ... relying (i think) on the audience to fill in the details) 

Edited by SusanSunflower
Link to comment

I appreciate it showing the story chronologically; it's a different way to think about the characters. That said, I'm not sure about some of the direction (the montage, the shots of trees, etc.). It seems a bit slow, but I'm intrigued enough to see how it plays out.

Link to comment

Because I don't trust Rebecca Eaton to "take what works and run it into the ground" I am wondering if this is drawing off of the Poldark-aesthetic ... which I have never been able to abide with clenched jaws, awesome cloud formations and cliffs and tears and Aiden Turner's manly chest ... and in this  production, many attractive men's manly chests, and beautiful women's lithesome bodies. 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, SusanSunflower said:

It felt "Prince Valiant" cartoonish to me on several occasions and shallow for a book I remember being quite compelling (ages ago) and particularly compared to the Liam Neeson 1998 version (with Uma Thurman as sack-of-potatoes doleful-eyed Fatine and Geoffey Rush as Javert) 

I also wondered about those who only know the story from the musical  -- again if there was enough resonance with this heroic "loser". buit it spent a lot of time on pretty young things so it's probably moot. 

I didn't hate it just felt it could have been a series of photos or story boards and too much arrived as if predicted.  Hope it gets a bit meatier. 

I thought the acting was okay, even good, but the dialog (what there was of it) was mostly at elementary school level..  The story seemed was told by "actions"  .... without explanation ... relying (i think) on the audience to fill in the details) 

2 hours ago, albinerhawk said:

Read the unabridged book in college (I was a nerd), but I still loved it. I've always wanted to see a mini series that could really delve into the details and nuances of the book. That being said, I was a little let down by the first hour. I didn't feel the emotional impact of the story that I've loved. I'll probably continue with it, but maybe I need to lower my expectations. Not sure why it's just not hitting me right. Acting?

I really think it's a difficult novel to translate to screen because so much of the story is internal. It's 1,000 pages long, but 500 of those pages happen inside people's minds: their emotions, doubts, thoughts, motivations, etc. That's part of what makes the musical kind of work: the songs allow you inside people's heads. But the musical to me has always felt like a pageant: a series of symbolic, representational tableaus of major scenes from the book, without a sense of things happening in "real time." I think this series gets closer to feeling like the events are playing out in real time, but I agree that the dialogue is a bit... pedestrian. 

It also feels too British. That can't really be helped, and I guess they tried to map the British regional accents roughly onto the classes/regions of France, but it's still a bit jarring for some reason. I didn't feel this way about the War and Peace miniseries, but I think that's because that story is mostly confined to one social class. 

  • Love 3
Link to comment

The problem of the straight-forward chronology is that even at the end of the first episode, I"m not certain that it's self-evident that Jean Valjean is a hero/heroic figure.  Two important seeds to his transformation are imho underplayed.

He is mocked as a poor criminal to have spent years on hard labor for a "loaf of bread" bit without the context that the Law unjustly punished a desperately man trying to feed his hungry child.  Second, his sudden heart-felt repentance at stealing the young minstrel 50 sous (a fast recognition from the incident with the cleric - that he need not continue down the path of vengeance)  suggests a deep soul capable of transformation (which the rest of the book covers) 

I tend to not trust audiences these days to "figure it out" ... As presented, Valjean is a brutish ex-con who steals from a generous clergy man .... but the larger story is arguably more about his healing from those years of being brutalized by poverty and by prison and by an unwelcoming society after serving his time.  As presented, "the girls" got equal (or more screen time) and I'm not sure how sympathetic Fantine was ... just a silly girl who ignored warnings, now getting her predicted "fall"?   Not long ago, Valjean was automatically a hero having survived years in a brutal prison as a result of a heartless and unjust legal system and Fantine  a victim of an unscrupulous liar. 

Edited by SusanSunflower
  • Useful 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment
24 minutes ago, SusanSunflower said:

Second, his sudden heart-felt repentance at stealing the young minstrel 50 sous (a fast recognition from the incident with the cleric - that he need not continue down the path of vengeance)  suggests a deep soul capable of transformation (which the rest of the book covers) 

I got that Valjean didn't realize the change the priest had wrought in him until he committed an evil act and felt remorse for the first time in 19 years.

  • Love 5
Link to comment

I thought that he saw Javert's prediction coming true as his thefts (I deserve this) devolved from the valuable silverware to 60 sous ... that he had lost all proportion and was lashing out irresponsibly -- not the cleric, not the boy -- victimizing the defenseless 

  • Love 2
Link to comment
8 hours ago, Diablo said:

I really think it's a difficult novel to translate to screen because so much of the story is internal. It's 1,000 pages long, but 500 of those pages happen inside people's minds:

And so many descriptions.  Wonderfully written descriptions but pages and pages of descriptions.

Quote

It also feels too British. That can't really be helped, and I guess they tried to map the British regional accents roughly onto the classes/regions of France, but it's still a bit jarring for some reason.

I did had to laugh when they were at the prison.  Everyone was speaking English and then when rock fell down, people underneath the rock started speaking French. 

I thought this looked good but fast forwarded bits in the first episode. This part of the story has always kind of bored me and I think the musical does well to largely breeze right through it.  I think it might have played better if they sped this part up a bit or even aired two episodes in one night. 

  • Love 1
Link to comment
10 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

And so many descriptions.  Wonderfully written descriptions but pages and pages of descriptions.

And a whole chapter on the history of Paris sewer system.  You can tell Hugo was paid by the word.

I hope "Masterpiece" does some more French classics-Balzac, Zola, and more Hugo,

  • Love 1
Link to comment
11 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Did Valjean steal from the little boy in the book? Because I have to say that was pretty fucking low.

Yes, that's the way it happened in the book.  The formerly brutish Valjean feels remorse for his actions, spurring him to reform himself.

  • Love 2
Link to comment
4 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

Yes, that's the way it happened in the book.  The formerly brutish Valjean feels remorse for his actions, spurring him to reform himself.

Gee, I thought stealing from the bishop would have been shaming enough...

  • Love 1
Link to comment

I'm enjoying it so far. I was a huge fan of the musical--I saw it six times and it would have been more had it not closed--and after reading the book, I was stunned at how much the show had eliminated.

This seems to be including things that weren't even in the book. It's been a while since I read it--did Fantine's romance get this much focus?

  • Love 1
Link to comment
4 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Gee, I thought stealing from the bishop would have been shaming enough...

It wasn't the theft, but it was being caught and Bishop Myriel saving him, then telling him that he was now an honest man that starts things.  It is the sudden guilt over the theft of the 50 sous and compassion for the Savoyard, Petit-Gervais, that make Valjean realize he's no longer a brute.  

Edited by Tom Holmberg
  • Love 4
Link to comment
6 hours ago, Tom Holmberg said:

It wasn't the theft, but it was being caught and Bishop Myriel saving him, then telling him that he was now an honest man that starts things.  It is the sudden guilt over the theft of the 50 sous and compassion for the Savoyard, Petit-Gervais, that make Valjean realize he's no longer a brute. 

That's how I saw it, too.  Valjean's 19 years in prison had made him so hard he was almost without feelings, but the priest's kindness opened a crack in his shell and suddenly he could feel empathy and guilt.  The scene took my breath away.  Derek Jacobi is perfect for the role of Bishop Myriel.

  • Love 4
Link to comment

That was what I questioned -- would this be an obvious "profound religious experience" to a modern audience or might they need some -- OMG -- exposition or at least a closer  camera angle -- or -- were they trying to downplay the religious aspect in this time of P.C.. ? It seems very much a deliberate "road to Damascus" analog.

Was the Bishop an idealistic old fool whose housekeeper would consider him unreliable (and maybe silly) 4ever? 

I thought I had read the book but I'm convinced now I never did -- not even an abridged version.  But I grew up in a time when many stories had heros and Jean Valjean, like the Hunchback, and many character were just accepted to be the hero, without having to "earn" it.

Like Oliver Stone being shocked that Gordon Gecko became the "hero" of the Wall Street audience; I was shocked to discover Jay Gatsby was being hailed as an all-American go-getter never-say-die entrepreneur hero when that movie came out.  Times change.

p.s..  I'm not saying - remotely -- that people should recognize archietypes or classic memes .... just that I've found increasingly people just don't ... it's like psychology which died a couple decades ago as an almost universal interest ... 

Edited by SusanSunflower
  • Love 2
Link to comment
11 hours ago, SusanSunflower said:

I thought I had read the book but I'm convinced now I never did -- not even an abridged version.

The book is worth reading, but I'd suggest an unabridged, modern translation like the one translated by Julie Rose for Modern Library.  Also of interest is "The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables" by David Bellos, which goes into the creation and reception of the novel.

  • Useful 1
  • Love 2
Link to comment

A bit more of why Valjean was sentenced to hard labor, instead of Javert's tossed-off "You stole a loaf of bread," would have been nice. Yay for Derek Jacobi's monsignor; Boo for the English-French dialogue mishmash. And I had to laugh at the Let's All Take a Minute Out For a Pee scene juxtaposed with PBS blurring West's backside.

  • Love 2
Link to comment

""A bit more of why Valjean was sentenced to hard labor, """

There were all those escape attempts I gather .... suggesting why Javert knew and had special animosity for the man... 

I wondered about the victim of Valjean's rock slide ... which might well have killed him ... again, did Valjean have a history of attempted murder of guards? 

I'm quite looking forward to {tomorrow}  Sunday night!

Edited by SusanSunflower
Link to comment
On 4/17/2019 at 12:26 PM, Camille said:

I'm enjoying it so far. I was a huge fan of the musical--I saw it six times and it would have been more had it not closed--and after reading the book, I was stunned at how much the show had eliminated.

This seems to be including things that weren't even in the book. It's been a while since I read it--did Fantine's romance get this much focus?

Pretty much everything in the first episode was also in the book, but introduced in a different order in the book. Fantine's romance with Felix is handled after Valjean meets the Bishop, I believe. It was an important part of the book that the musical didn't have time to portray. Some of the prison scenes are only made reference to in the book, but fleshed out in the series. 

Link to comment

I finally watched this and loved it.  The interaction between the Bishop and Jean Valjean spoke to my heart.  I admit that sometimes I don't try to find ways to help others and this episode has reprimanded me in that I, too, should seek to help others.  Sorry for the detour away from the show, but the themes from the episode did have an immediate impact on me.

The facial expressions on Jean Valjean were really well done.  Especially after he stole the money from the young boy.  He went from triumph to tragedy as he realized what he had done and how he was already changed/changing.

I was a bit confused about Fantine and her daughter.  Did Felix stay with her through her whole pregnancy and the birth of their baby or had he left before the birth and we were just being introduced to her daughter in that scene?  Fantine's story still has relevance (well, all the stories do) in that she thought she would be the exception and that she would be able to change Felix.

While watching this I wondered why so many of the literary classics are no longer required reading.  I know that many think that students should only read books that are relevant to them, but, really, the themes and experiences of these characters are universal.  Second chances, thinking nobody cares, the end of relationships, the difficulty of life (especially for the poor), etc.  

I'm looking forward to the rest of the mini-series.

  • Love 5
Link to comment
6 hours ago, seacliffsal said:

I was a bit confused about Fantine and her daughter.  Did Felix stay with her through her whole pregnancy and the birth of their baby or had he left before the birth and we were just being introduced to her daughter in that scene?

Thank you! I came here just to ask that same question. We saw the baby when Fantine and Felix came into the house at one point, right? Was that also supposed to be Cosette or was the implication that a number of the girls had babies that the houselady watched? And there was no time lapse, I don't think, when Fantine returned after the "farewell dinner," which meant that she had the baby while she was still with Felix. 

I find it hard to believe that Felix, or any of these guys, would have stayed with Fantine during a pregnancy when all they wanted was a fun time.

Maybe a book reader can explain?

  • Love 3
Link to comment

Episode 2 was excellent. I think they portrayed the horror of Fantine’s descent perfectly, probably better than any adaptation prior (I’ve seen pretty much all of them; the 1934 Raymond Bernard version is the gold standard, but in this particular piece of the story, I think the 2018 version shines). The hair cutting and tooth pulling scenes were heartbreaking and disturbing, as was the scene in which she was humiliated before her arrest. I also thought they did a good job with the Thenardiers, and how they could easily pull a naive and desperate person in. 

I might quibble a bit about how they had Valjean/Madeleine himself Fire Fantine, but I think it made sense of Valjean’s sense of personal investment in Fantine’s case. I will need time to think about how this night skew the sense of Valjean’s motivations, though. They had him gawking st Fantine during her time at the factory and it gave the impression that he isn’t interested solely in being a good person, but only because he had a personal interest in Fantine. This adds a subtext to their relationship that was not existent in Hugo’s novel, and I’m not sure I like it.

The initial Javert/Madeleine interaction was clumsy and heavy handed in terms of dialogue. The writing for Javert is just bad, honestly. 

  • Love 3
Link to comment

As one who's never read the book but who's seen the musical twice, has the London soundtrack and watched the recent movie, I'm enjoying it for the most part. I love how we see little Marius and his father-who's completely cut out of the musical. Ditto for seeing Garou(?) in the Thenardiers family and their animosity towards him. Again which the play never touches on. In the play Madame Thenardiers is always shown to hold her own with her husband and the pair are portrayed as lovable rapscallions but the miniseries idea of showing the husbands wrath really underscored what it was probably like for the couple back then.

IMO, the biggest problem with Javert is that he is.a very closed person and he doesn't have any friends. In the musical, we learn about him mostly from his singing-if this was Shakespeare, he'd probably have 5 soliloquies. But unless Javert talks to himself it's pretty hard to know what he's thinking.  Finally, as for the longing looks between Valjean and Fontine, Davies is the same guy who wrote Mr. Darcy jumping into a pond to cool his desire and Lizzie finding him afterwards (sorry Ms.Austen) so I expected some modern sexual undercurrents. 

On the whole, it's been keeping my interest and I'm honestly sad to see the hour pass so quickly.

Edited by Tardislass
Link to comment
8 hours ago, Tardislass said:

IMO, the biggest problem with Javert is that he is.a very closed person and he doesn't have any friends.

I was disappointed that Javert still came across as arrogant even when he went to Valjean to resign his office.  This is where we should see the deep mental issues behind Javert's unbending attitude.  So far Javert isn't portrayed as having much depth-he's too one dimensional. I agree with Diablo's assessment that the writing for Javert (so far) is poor.

Edited by Tom Holmberg
  • Love 1
Link to comment

If someone tried to pull my two front bucks without anesthetic,  it would take a lot more than a little old lady to hold me down.  I've had gum surgery in that area and the pain was terrible even with anesthesia.  People can easily die from infection in those front teeth going straight to the brain. That was just  horrific. 

I'm having trouble understanding Fantine.  Why doesn't she question the rising prices of daycare and start to suspect that the woman might have lied about everything?  Why hadn't she noticed that all the other seamstresses were asking for more work if they finished early?  Why was Valjean so quick to fire her?  Why didn't she go see her daughter if the child was so ill that she needed a huge amount of money for medical care?  Why didn't she realize that after the teeth and hair were gone she would still need regular money and she wouldn't have the looks to pursue her trade?  Why not start with hair only, knowing that her teeth would never grow back? (I couldn't sleep over this.)

  • Love 6
Link to comment
10 hours ago, Tardislass said:

As one who's never read the book but who's seen the musical twice, has the London soundtrack and watched the recent movie, I'm enjoying it for the most part. I love how we see little Marius and his father-who's completely cut out of the musical. Ditto for seeing Garou(?) in the Thenardiers family and their animosity towards him.

That was Gavroche. I won’t say more for fear of being spoilery.

  • Love 3
Link to comment
34 minutes ago, JudyObscure said:

If someone tried to pull my two front bucks without anesthetic,  it would take a lot more than a little old lady to hold me down.  I've had gum surgery in that area and the pain was terrible even with anesthesia.  People can easily die from infection in those front teeth going straight to the brain. That was just  horrific. 

I'm having trouble understanding Fantine.  Why doesn't she question the rising prices of daycare and start to suspect that the woman might have lied about everything?  Why hadn't she noticed that all the other seamstresses were asking for more work if they finished early?  Why was Valjean so quick to fire her?  Why didn't she go see her daughter if the child was so ill that she needed a huge amount of money for medical care?  Why didn't she realize that after the teeth and hair were gone she would still need regular money and she wouldn't have the looks to pursue her trade?  Why not start with hair only, knowing that her teeth would never grow back? (I couldn't sleep over this.)

You're looking at this through the eyes of an educated 21st century woman. As we've seen, Fantine is a sweet but poor and non-educated lower class woman in the 19th century. She let Felix take advantage of her and believed him even when her friends were more callous with their lovers and none of them got pregnant. Hugo was also trying to show that when you live in poverty for so long your will and soul get crushed and you will do anything to survive-steal candlesticks, sell your teeth, steal a loaf of bread. For those who've never been a part of it, poverty affects your whole person.

Also, I believe the inn was pretty far away from where Fantine was working and there was no time to go and visit her. Plus she's an 19th century fictional woman. IMO, men back then made most of them innocent but dumb. Esther from Bleak House is another, that was somehow made palatable in the brilliant BBC adaptation a decade ago.

  • Love 6
Link to comment

One question, I haven't read the book but who is the sister to Éponine and which one is she supposed to be. In the musical there was only one daughter.

Also is the older woman taking care of Marius supposed to be his nanny or a member of the family? She speaks very familiar to his grandfather which I assume a servant wouldn't have done. 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, Tardislass said:

One question, I haven't read the book but who is the sister to Éponine and which one is she supposed to be. In the musical there was only one daughter.

Also is the older woman taking care of Marius supposed to be his nanny or a member of the family? She speaks very familiar to his grandfather which I assume a servant wouldn't have done. 

The sister is Azelma - she was edited out for the musical, which necessarily compresses the story down to its prime constituents.

The woman looking after Marius is a servant, some kind of housekeeper I think, but has evidently been with the family for so long that she feels able to speak her mind, confident of her position.

I can't say too much about this mini-series, because I already watched the whole thing back when it aired on the BBC, and can't remember what happened in which episode! I remember reading the book once upon a time, but that was more than 20 years ago, so the details are very hazy now.

  • Love 1
Link to comment
4 hours ago, Magnumfangirl said:

I came here to ask if anybody else thinks she's dumb as a box of rocks? 

She's supposed to be naïve and innocent of the ways of the world.  At the time she would be considered a model of motherly devotion, giving everything of herself for her child.  Today we see her differently.

  • Useful 1
  • Love 5
Link to comment
4 hours ago, Tardislass said:

You're looking at this through the eyes of an educated 21st century woman. As we've seen, Fantine is a sweet but poor and non-educated lower class woman in the 19th century. She let Felix take advantage of her and believed him even when her friends were more callous with their lovers and none of them got pregnant. Hugo was also trying to show that when you live in poverty for so long your will and soul get crushed and you will do anything to survive-steal candlesticks, sell your teeth, steal a loaf of bread. For those who've never been a part of it, poverty affects your whole person.

Also, I believe the inn was pretty far away from where Fantine was working and there was no time to go and visit her. Plus she's an 19th century fictional woman. IMO, men back then made most of them innocent but dumb. Esther from Bleak House is another, that was somehow made palatable in the brilliant BBC adaptation a decade ago.

Of course I'm looking at this through the eyes of a 21st century woman, that's what I am,  but I fail to see any way in which I've judged Fantine by contemporary standards.  I really don't think you have to be educated or rich to know it hurts like hell to have your teeth yanked out of your head, or to know that you'll need money next week just as you did last  week and the week before.  Actually I think being desperately poor would make a person more "street smart" about things like appearance mattering for a prostitute and the fact that some baby-minders were abusive.  Having experienced poverty you would think she would be  less careless about  keeping a job (not making little birds during work hours) than today's young woman with other employment opportunities. 

I didn't question Fantine's first relationship at all or Valjean stealing the silver so don't put that on me.  I understand what Hugo was showing with Valjean last week, I'm not so sure what he's doing with Fantine this week.

I would never compare Esther to Fantine.  Esther was raised as a gentlewoman and had a good education. As far as has been shown Fantine was a courtesan from the beginning of the novel and so would be more worldly wise and less sheltered than Esther. Esther was never rich, but she had never lived in the harsh conditions Fantine has experienced.  I never thought Esther seemed dumb. 

  • Love 1
Link to comment

In the novel, Fantine’s fall takes much longer. She takes up odd sewing jobs for as long as she can , but the Thenardiers keep raising their fee, intimating that Cosette is on the brink of death. (With childhood mortality as high as it was back then, it probably wasn’t that far fetched.) It is only when her sewing work dries up  that she resorts to selling her hair and eventually her teeth. The latter is meant to be horrific, but was probably not an uncommon way to raise money for the desperately poor. Dental hygiene wasn’t what it is today and people were always in need of replacements.

Prostitution was seen as the ultimate and irretrievable fall from respectable society. It says something perverse about 19th century French society that Hugo considered prostitution the last resort rather than selling her teeth. Fantine puts it off until she has no other option. “The poor girl became a prostitute” is the last sentence of a long chapter describing her desperate attempts to get money. France was in such grave straits in the period this takes places that it was apparently believable that she has no other option for work. 

As for why she wouldn’t just go retrieve Cosette, she probably really believed the Thenardiers about her illness and didn’t want to risk missing a payment and then the added cost and wear of the journey on both her and Cosette plus the cost of medical care. That said, it probably would have been cheaper in the end to bring Cosette even with the medical costs, considering what the Thenardiers were charging her. We’re just left to assume she was naive, and trusting to a fault, which would have been seen as a virtue for a young woman in Hugo’s time, as Tom mentions above. She would have been considered a pure archetype of maternal sacrifice and purity, going as far as selling her teeth before resorting to the utter moral “indecency” of prostitution. We are meant to point our fingers at the society and the men who take advantage of her, rather than ascribe to her the idea that she has any other choice but the course she took. I am sure there have been Feminist critiques of this character written, either in France or abroad, at some point. 

Edited by Diablo
  • Useful 1
  • Love 5
Link to comment

Fantine really did believe the couple's letters, probably because when she met Madam T., she felt she was a good person and her daughter got along with her kids. Plus, childhood death and illness was a constant worry in the 1800s, my grandmother's great grandmother had 11 children 3 of whom died before they reached their teens. No vaccines back then. Only thing in this series, is that it's hard to judge the passing of time so I believe a lot more time passed between her getting fired and then prostituting herself.

As others' noted, the female ideal was different as well. Women were supposed to be virtuous, gentle and not a bluestocking or pretend not to be so. In the Wilkie Collins mysteries like The Moonstone, the female love interest is always a bit dim and needs saving. The same with Dickens as there are either genteel women who are saved by marriage or the "fallen" women like Nancy and Lady Deadlock have to die in the end. OT, that's probably why my favorite Victorian novel is Jane Eyre as she has to make her own way in the world-chooses to leave Rochester and comes back on her terms. 

Only thing about the musical is it conveys the characters feelings better then this series. Lovely Ladies is one, where we hear Fantine's pain and numbness and how's she's lost her fight. But I will say whoever casted Young Marius did a great job, he's such a cutie but you can see his hesitant in talking to and about his father. 

Edited by Tardislass
  • Love 5
Link to comment
28 minutes ago, Diablo said:

resorts to selling her hair and eventually her teeth. The latter is meant to be horrific, but was probably not an uncommon way to raise money for the desperately poor. Dental hygiene wasn’t what it is today and people were always in need of replacements.

Earlier one of the sources for teeth were the so-called "Waterloo teeth" removed from the corpses of dead soldiers.

https://bda.org/museum/collections/teeth-and-dentures/waterloo-teeth

  • Useful 1
Link to comment
27 minutes ago, Diablo said:

. We are meant to point our fingers at the society and the men who take advantage of her, rather than ascribe to her the idea that she has any other choice but the course she took. I am sure there have been Feminist critiques of this character written, either in France or abroad, at some point. 

There probably are just as I think there are of all Victorian heroines. I've always been rather an odd duck as liking the unlikely women in Victoriana. In P&P, the woman who seems the strongest to me is Charlotte because rather than sitting back and letting the men decide, she orchestrates spending time with Mr. Collins and getting him to marry her. While their marriage isn't a love match, she is now comfortably settled and has allowed her younger sister to be married. Plus she has arranged it to get maximum enjoyment out of her circumstances, a plight which many women back then would have had rather than the life the Bennett sisters have. Actually, the only woman in LM to have a happy ending is the rather dull Cosette the rest of the feistier women seem to die off.

  • Love 4
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...