Were the students foolish/What about the ending?

How did you guys feel about the epilogue?

At least at the beginning of the movie they made it clear that the story doesn't take place during the French Revolution.

I think they helped to show that the uprising was citywide, and the students did have support, just not enough. In the musical it often seems easy to assume that they were a small, naive group of students facing the might of the National Guard, when this wasn't the case. I also liked how they tried to dispel the whole "schoolboys, never held a gun" but I am not sure that they did a good job of show that the students did have reason to believe that they would succeed. Thoughts?

Also, the rather hopeful ending showing the success of the revolution sixteen years later. I like that it showed that the students did not die in vain, that even a failed revolution can be the basis of success later. However, given that the 1948 revolution was ultimately successful, the ending could easily leave people with the wrong impressions. Furthermore, a lack of explaination meant that when I saw the movie, a lot of people didn't understand why they included the ending, and thought it was merely symbolic, or that it was added solely so the movie could end on a hopeful note.
Katie Militello
01-2-2013 10:32 AM

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Peter Salzer

Peter Salzer

Let's hope that some who see this dreadful filmed musical will read Vitor Hugo's version and get a proper picture instead of trying to analyse the historical backgound from this film.

Jan 29 - 03:47 PM

X'ian Dale Espartero

X'ian Dale Espartero

Misspelled VICTOR Hugo's name I see; I honestly doubt that you've ever even so much as touched the book before.
...And by the way I'm actually beginning to wonder why you're at every Discussion Topic for this Movie, if you hated it in the first place.
...And also, before I forget, you may want to read your original post, because it does not make sense. "...A Proper Picture instead of trying to analyse the historical background of the film". Wasn't the entire point of the book (and the film) to recreate and to show what life was for the poor before the French Revolution, the injustices through the eyes and experiences of its characters? (The Musical, was a bonus for that)

Jan 31 - 09:15 AM

Hugh Worrall

Hugh Worrall

Thanks for this discussion thread. Some of the other discussions only seem to care about who is the best or worst singer. I found the movie did make me think about what the students (and Valjean in his own way) were fighting for and how that influences our lives today. I agree that it was hard to know why they decided to fight against overwhelming odds but then it was probably hard for them to work out what the level of support from the people was. The fact that we are still talking about it indicates that they died for an ideal which wasn't wasted (hopefully - but you wouldn't think so reading some of the other viewer critiques on Rotton Tomateos). Thanks.

Jan 18 - 03:01 AM

Marion Guenther

Marion Guenther

It looks like the wrecked ship in the opening scene was symbolic of old, elitist run France, and the piled furniture in the shape of a ship in the final scene was supposed to be the 'new' France, somehow glorious and free. Didn't work for me.

Jan 10 - 07:01 AM

Sue Stephenson

Sue Stephenson

The success of any creative art form lies in what we, the observers take away from experiencing the work. Are you a different person now than before the movie? Have you rethought your views of humanity? Thank you for asking a provoking question Katie.

Jan 4 - 07:10 PM

Beaugard Stevens

Beaugard Stevens

I don't think the average moviegoer knows enough about french history to pinpoint anything from the era and I don't think they care too much to go any deeper than it was a revolt of some kind, which France has had many times. The book goes much deeper into reasons, the musical just scratches the surface, it is not even particularly clear what they are fighting about

Jan 2 - 01:52 PM

Katie Militello

Katie Militello

it looks like they were originally planning to add the date and some captions with. Very brief explanation of the epilogue, which would have clarified things.

Jan 2 - 02:02 PM

Katie Militello

Katie Militello

The students may/or may not actually be present during the ending depending on ones views. And there are plenty of the still living present, Marius and Cosette, those participating in the uprising, etc. Interviews with the crew make it clear that this is meant to be the actual uprising in 1848.

What I am asking is if 1) people who didn't know the history understood what was taking place and 2) whether the actual eventual failure of the revolution ruins the hopeful tone of the ending.

Jan 2 - 01:34 PM

Jean-Philippe Thériault

Jean-Philippe Thériault

I just went to watch it again yesterday night so I am pretty confident in my analysis of that scene. I think you need to review that last scene at the barricade because the people you see in the very last scene are all dead: Jean Valjean, Fontine, the students, Gavroche, and extras. Neither Cosette nor Marius are there. And the last song is a version of Do You Hear the People Sing where the revolutionary 'world of tomorrow' is explicitly referring to the kingdom of Heaven rather than one that exists on Earth. It is not at all referring to the revolution of 1848.

Jan 3 - 07:27 AM

Marion Guenther

Marion Guenther

I agree - interesting that the inspector was not included in the gathering . . . I can't locate the actual ending in the novel - did Victor Hugo actually envision this entire group all gaining the kingdom of heaven? Considering his careful study of the fearful and wonderful redemption of a single soul, it surprises me that almost the entire cast got in so easily.

Jan 9 - 08:36 AM

Katie Militello

Katie Militello

Seriously? Watch the production video where they flat out state that this is the case. Read the production book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1pGPRDzx8A&t=2m12s

Jan 3 - 08:12 AM

Jean-Philippe Thériault

Jean-Philippe Thériault

All this video tells me is that this was the *visual* reference they were going for. The way it is depicted in the actual movie is still clearly a reference to the afterlife. Now a movie is basically created by committee so the left hand and the right hand can often be completely unaware of what each other is doing. If some people wanted to make this a reference to 1848 they failed by any measure. Since Les Miserables is at the core a story about Christian values of turning the other cheek, love/mercy vs justice/revenge, etc... I expect it was deliberate, at least on one part of the people responsible for making the movie, that the ending ends up pushing forward an agenda that the rewards for the wretched of the earth will be in Heaven and that revolutionary fervor is in itself wrongheaded, if understandable on the part of poor people.

Jan 3 - 10:45 AM

Jean-Philippe Thériault

Jean-Philippe Thériault

The ending represents Heaven and the afterlife (whether you see it as symbolic or not would depend on your religious convictions, I suppose). That's why all the cast of characters that died are there and none of the still living. The song lyrics are pretty explicit.

Jan 2 - 01:18 PM

Katie Militello

Katie Militello

Typo: I meant to write that the 1848 revolution (Really? The 1948 revolution? LOL) was ultimately NOT successful.

Jan 2 - 10:35 AM

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