Thursday, October 20, 2016

Like This? Try These! #2

Time for another edition of my new series!  Meredith asked me what I'd recommend for fans of Les Miserables (2012), and that one was a bit challenging.  Here are my suggestions!

If you like Les Mis, with it's sweeping emotions, beautiful costumes, and poignant character arcs, not to mention all that gorgeous music, then you might like any of these:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) -- Also set in France, with lots of scenes involving people living on the streets and society's margins, this beautiful retelling of another novel by Victor Hugo (same guy who wrote the original Les Mis) involves a young and vibrant Gypsy (Maureen O'Hara) who seeks sanctuary in the Notre Dame cathedral.  She's persecuted by a lusting, vengeful creep (Cedric Hardwicke); pursued by a poor, idealistic writer (Edmund O'Brien); and championed by a despised, deformed bell-ringer (Charles Laughton).  (Family friendly for the most part, as the creep's lusting is subtext.  The bell-ringer's deformities are pretty startling, though, and this is not a film for young children.)

Oliver! (1968) -- This one takes place among the poor and downtrodden of London instead of Paris, with lots of fairly cheerful songs, but a good bit of darkness going on as well.  Orphaned Oliver Twist (Mark Lester) gets thrown out of the workhouse and must fend for himself on the streets.  He's taken in by a gang of pickpockets and thieves, among them the extremely nasty Bill Sykes (Oliver Reed) and his sweet streetwalker girlfriend Nancy (Shani Wallis).  (Also not for really young children, though Nancy's occupation is only hinted at.  There's a goodly bit of threatened and implied violence, though, including a murder.)

Evita (1996) -- Loosely based on the life of Eva Peron, wife of Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, this one is almost entirely sung, like Les Mis.  In it, a narrator (Antonio Banderas) relates the story of how a poor young outcast (Madonna) rises from obscurity to power and becomes regarded as a saint even though she's very much a sinner.  It's got lots of cool political intrigue and songs that alternately soar and growl.  (And this one's also not for young children.  Some mild language and a lot of innuendo, including scenes of unmarried people in bed, but no actual sex scenes.  Also some violence.)

What do you think?  What other movies would you recommend to someone who likes Les Mis?  Any other movies you'd like to see me do comparisons for?


  1. Oooh...I love these posts! :)

    Oliver! is one of those movies that kind of 'belongs' to my family. We've watched it tons of times and we all quote it semi-frequently (especially the "These sausages are moldy!" line, for some weird reason). I'd like to see Hunchback sometime.

    Suggestions for future posts: The Bourne Identity, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Saving Mr. Banks. :)


    1. I'm actually working on one for Raiders! I'll add the others to my growing list :-D

  2. Yay! I'm glad you did one. :)

    Oh, I've been wanting to watch a live-action HoND version and maybe the Disney one, but I'd like to read the book first. Have you read it?

    Oliver! also looks really good, although again I'd like to read the book first.

    And Evita someday. :)

    I'm glad you did this since I need to watch more movies like Les Mis(2012). Now I know where to start.

    One movie I miiight recommend to a Les Mis fan is Hugo. Both feature Sacha Baron-Cohen as a sort of villain and take place in France. And there's a quick reference to Jean Valjean. But the movies are also different in many ways, so I'm not sure every Les Mis fan would be interested.

    1. You're welcome, Meredith :-)

      Neither Cowboy nor I have ever read HOND or seen any other movie version of it, so we really watched this film with no idea what to expect. And we were both just mesmerized by the story -- it's a powerful piece on hypocrisy and what it means to love your neighbor.

      I've read Oliver Twist and didn't like it nearly as well as this movie version. But that probably just goes back to my general distaste for Dickens.

      I don't know much about Hugo -- is it the one about clocks?

    2. Yes. Clocks and movies, and trains, and books. There's a lot of themes, which can be confusing, but I really like it. It's based off "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick.

    3. You don't like Dickens, Rachel? I hope that doesn't extend to "A Christmas Carol"... I've seen a dozen or so versions and variations on the theme, and it's not Christmas until I've seen at least one of them. But also I must take issue if you've seen and don't like David Lean's film of Great Expectations. And if you haven't seen it, why not???

    4. Haha! "A Christmas Carol" and "A Tale of Two Cities" are the two Dickens books I've liked well enough to want to reread them. I haven't seen any movie versions of Cities simply because they have never crossed my path, and I don't feel compelled to seek them out. But I love both the Muppets and Patrick Stewart versions of Carol and watch them regularly.

  3. I really like this idea. :D

    Well, I like Les Mis and I grew up with Oliver!, so I obviously love that one too... haven't seen the others, although Evita is on my to see list. :)
    (Also, I like Tangled and Roman Holiday, so there ya go. :D)

    Well, I second Eva's suggestion for the Bourne series!

    ~Miss Meg

    1. Thanks, Miss Meg! I'm in the thinking stage for a Bourne post -- we'll see what I can come up with.

  4. Do I like Les Mis? Why . . . yes . . .

    I LOVE IT.

    So this is awesome!! Ah, I really, really love the Disney version of "Hunchback," so I bet the black-and-white version would be cool, too . . . And "Evita" sounds super intriguing; I've never seen it, but of course I love the song "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" (who doesn't??), so maybe I'll check it out someday!

    "Hamilton" isn't a movie (yet), of course, but it's actually a LOT like Les Mis in a lot of ways. I'd definitely recommend it, if you haven't seen/listened to it :-)

    Can you do one of these comparison posts for "Finding Neverland"? Y'know, themes of imagination, grief, "found families," etc. . . .

    1. Jessica, I've been intrigued by how many people are agog over Hamilton, and I've listened to a few of the songs. They didn't grab me particularly, but I'd like to see it if it was a movie.

      I'll add Finding Neverland to the list!

    2. I, for one, am COMPLETELY obsessed with "Hamilton"--I think it's now tied for my favorite musical of all time, right along with Les Mis itself. But I didn't really, really love it until the first time I listened to the entire soundtrack all the way through. After that, I was completely hooked :-) Because it's such a narrative-driven piece, I guess you don't really get the full impact until you hear it all in order? Anyways, I absolutely LOVE it; and if I ever get a chance to see it live, I'll probably die of happiness. Not kidding.

      Seriously, though, even if you don't want to listen to the whole thing, at least listen to "Dear Theodosia"--it's beautiful, and I think you would relate to it a lot :-)

      Cool! Finding Neverland is one of my favorites, so I look forward to that :-)

    3. I will check out "Dear Theodosia." And yup, it's on the list. I've got ideas for like 15 posts right now, lol!

    4. Awesome! Hey, the more the merrier! :-)


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