I fell in love with Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables when I first read it. The book transported me to a captivating historical time and place populated by vivid characters motivated by dire circumstances. And while I am haunted by the music in the Broadway show, I have longed for a dramatic adaptation of the book that delves more deeply into the characters’ lives and full stories. I got my wish with the Masterpiece Theater miniseries of Les Misérables starting Sunday, April 14 and continuing for six Sundays through May 19.
My husband, daughter, and I have been transported with each episode we previewed, taken to the early 1800s in France, a time when life was tenuous and any setback could have dire consequences. Here the lives of the criminal Jean Valjean, his relentless pursuer Inspector Javert, Fantine, the woman who tried to do the best for her child, and Cosette, the innocent girl, intersect in unexpected ways.
The cast is strong, with standout performances by Lily Collins as Fantine, Dominic West as Valjean, and David Oyelowo as Javert. Watching them we felt as though we knew these people, their motivations, and their emotions. Settings, costumes, and smooth transitions between intimate scenes and those with action all added to the feeling that for 60 minutes at a time we were right there with the characters.
I haven’t felt this excited about a production in years, and I’m such a fan that I signed up for the PBS Masterpiece official companion e-newsletter, Les Misérables Insider. I can’t wait for the promised weekly roundup of exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes info, historical content and other bonuses. Here’s the link if you’d like to sign up too: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/sign-up-for-les-miserables-insider-emails/
I received a preview copy of this production in exchange for my honest review.