Les Miserables. DVD. approx. 3 hrs. Entertainment One Home Video. 2013. ISBN unavail. $19.98.
Gr 6 Up–In this made-for-TV adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic story, ex-criminal Jean Valjean seeks a better life for himself, but his efforts are dogged by the relentless Inspector Javert. With the young orphan Cosette at his side, Valjean flees toPariswhere, years later, civil unrest divides the city. Amidst the turmoil, Cosette meets and falls in love with the young noble Marius, Valjean’s true identity is revealed, and Javert is faced with an ideological dilemma that ultimately leads to his demise. In the end, Valjean proves to be the man he has always wanted to become. Gerard Depardieu brings Valjean to life with an intensity and fierceness that closely resembles the character Hugo created. Depardieu expresses his character’s inner struggles with passion, depicting Valjean’s quest for redemption with conviction. John Malkovich’s Javert oozes sinister intent and embodies the man’s obsessive desire to destroy Valjean with single-minded ferocity. When the two actors share the screen, their chemistry is palpable, thanks to writer Didier Decoin, whose screenplay retains the novel’s dynamic characters and moral ambiguities. The movie’s pacing and the strong supporting cast round out a superb production. Both fans of the novel and those new to the story will not be disappointed.–Audrey Sumser,CuyahogaCountyPublic Library,Mayfield,OH