Les Misérables (Claude Lelouch)

Rating: 2.5

An intriguing idea that didn't really work for me: a modern update of 
Hugo's novel in which the modern-day characters are constantly reading 
and talking about the book and remarking on the similarities between 
their own lives and those of Valjean, Javert, Cosette, Marius, and so 
on.  Even at almost three hours, the film is way too short, given its 
ambitious nature; crucial episodes receive scant attention, and I often 
felt as if I were watching an adaptation of the Monarch edition of the 
book.  A narrative device in which Jean-Paul Belmondo imagines himself as 
Valjean is suddenly dropped about halfway through the movie (and halfway 
through Hugo's story), for no discernible reason.  Badly unfocused, 
overblown, sentimental, and frequently ludicrous, it is, at least, never 
dull, and there are several remarkable moments scattered throughout its 
170-odd minutes.  If you want to avoid the dumbest, most shamelessly 
sappy scene of the year, run for the bathroom as soon as you hear the 
opening strains of "Cheek to Cheek."  Trust me.