"To love another person is to see the face of God."
"I'll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean
Jean Valjean is nothing now
Another story must begin!"
A convict whose crime was to steal a loaf of bread. After his release and a religious encounter, he resolves to be an honest man.
"God be my witness / I never shall yield / Till we come face to face..."
"Tell me quickly what's the story
Who saw what and why and where
Let him give a full description
Let him answer to Javert!"
A determined police inspector on Valjean's trail.
"I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living!"
"I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving..."
A struggling factory worker and mother of Cosette.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Along with most Fantines that appear in staged version. In the book, she's blonde.
- Butt Monkey: Falls in love with a guy that gets her pregnant and then abandons her, leaves her daughter with an innkeeper's family that continually cheats her out of money, fired from her job because of an Alpha Bitch employee who just wanted to find some dirt on Fantine, and then resorting to prostitution to make ends meet before dying from a disease she might have contracted from doing her job out in the cold every night.
- Break the Cutie: Everything that happens to her over the course of the musical. I Dreamed A Dream is a whole reference to this happening to her.
- Defiled Forever
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Go Out with a Smile: After hearing Valjean tell her he'll raise Cosette.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's just trying to make ends meet for her daughter, whom she was led to believe was sick.
- Ill Girl: She begins coughing after "Lovely Ladies" as a result of not having a place to stay on top of prostituting herself in the winter, foreshadowing her death.
- Important Haircut: The first of what she gives up when she loses her job.
- Mama Bear: Went through A LOT for Cosette. Notable in that she barely raised Cosette (and Cosette is implied to have no memories of her) before leaving her with the Thenardiers.
- Parents as People:
- Parents in Distress:
- Single Mom Stripper:
- Take Care of the Kids: See Go Out with a Smile
"In my life / There are so many questions and answers / That somehow seem wrong..."
"There is a castle on a cloud
I like to go there in my sleep
Aren't any floors for me to sweep
Not in my castle on a cloud."
Fantine's young daughter in the care of the the Thénardiers.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Had darker hair in the book, but the change to a lighter hair color differentiates her from Eponine.
- Barefoot Poverty: As a child.
- Daddy's Girl: Attached to Valjean at the hip once he shows her compassion.
- Disappeared Dad: Her birth father ran out on Fantine when he got her pregnant, meaning Cosette never even met him. Don't worry, though; Valjean more than picks up the slack.
- The Ingenue
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
- Happily Adopted: By Valjean, who rescues her from the Thenardiers
- Heartwarming Orphan: The addition of the song "Suddenly" to the film is about how Cosette's appearance in Valjean's life makes her this to him.
- Love at First Sight: With Marius.
- Missing Mom: Fantine is hers.
- Nice Girl
- Orphan's Ordeal: Treated as a slave by the Jerkass Thenardiers until Happily Adopted by Valjean.
- Purity Personified: Despite the harshness of her life with the Thenardiers and (unbeknownst to her) quiet life on the run, she manages to make it through the film no worse for the wear.
- Rags to Riches: While not necessarily rich, she definitely had an infinitely better life with Valjean than with the Thenardiers.
- She's All Grown Up: After the nine year timeskip.
- Spoiled Sweet: Because she was treated so harshly by the Thenardiers and Valjean taught her the importance of looking out for those who can't provide for themselves as she grew up.
"How the world may be changed / In just one burst of light..."
"From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
I can hear them now!"
A student revolutionary who falls in love with Cosette.
Monsieur & Madame Thénardier
Monsieur: "Everybody raise a glass!" / Madame: "Raise it up the master's arse!"
"Glad to do a friend a favor
Doesn't cost me to be nice
But nothing gets you nothing
Everything has got a little price!"
A shady pair of innkeepers and criminals.
"A world that's full of happiness / That I have never known..."
Samantha Barks & Natalya Wallace (young)
"And I know it's only in my mind
That I'm talking to myself and not to him
And although I know that he is blind
Still I say, there's a way for us..."
The Thénardiers' destitute daughter.
- Adaptational Villainy: Eponine is not a villain in any version of the story, but she's hit with a bit of recursive Adaptational Villainy in that her subplot from the book about attempting to sabotage Marius and Cosette's relationship returns, albeit abridged, after being absent from the musical.
- Barefoot Poverty
- Butt Monkey: Marius being Oblivious to Love from her is largely the cause of her status as this, as well as the fact that her parents stopped giving a crap about her when they no longer had money to provide for themselves.
- Chickification: Wardrobe-wise, the costume department went out of their way to have Eponine's dress emphasize Barks' figure by making her waist look tiny and lowering the cut of the dress far lower than anything compared to the outfits Barks (or any of the other actresses who have played Eponine) wore onstage.
- Heroic Sacrifice: For Marius.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Could have very well not given Marius the letter from Cosette and therefore kept them apart, but she does so anyway, probably because she realized there wasn't much time before she succumbed to the gunshot in her chest.
- Love Redeems: Friendship and Romantic Love.
- Male Gaze: The top she wears in the film is a lot more low cut than costumes seen in the stage versions of the musical. Averted once she changes.
- Ms. Fanservice: For living a life on the streets, she still looks pretty good.
- Nice Girl: Considering her upbringing...
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: She finds out where Cosette lives for Marius and then watches them find love together. Then she stops her father from robbing Valjean and is slapped in the face for it. Then she saves Marius and dies for it.
- Suppressed Mammaries/Sarashi: For the battle, to disguise herself as a boy.
- Taking the Bullet: For Marius
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: It's arguable whether her words were supposed to be a confession or just a vain attempt to reassure Marius she's okay. Marius might have realized she's in love with him, but he cares enough for her to cry and kiss her on the forehead after she dies in the film.
"And little people know / When little people fight..."
"'Ow do you do? My name's Gavroche.
These are my people. Here's my patch.
Not much to look at, nothing posh
Nothing that you'd call up to scratch..."
A streetwise urchin helping the revolutionaries.
- The Artful Dodger: Until the end of his solo song "Little People", in which he is Killed Mid-Sentence.
- Child Soldiers: Lines cut from the film indicate that the Amis are wary of him being around, but they eventually realize that he wasn't going to leave and there was no way of keeping him away from the conflict.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Defiant to the End: He's the one who begins the reprise of "Do You Hear The People Sing?" that encourages the boys to make their Last Stand.
- Face Death with Dignity
- Kill the Cutie
- Le Parkour: His first song/scene "Look Down (Beggars)" is basically a series of Tracking Shots that show us how well he can weave through the near unmovable crowds of Paris.
- Mouthy Kid: He gives us some musical exposition to the situation in Paris after the last Time Skip. In universe, he acts as the Amis' connection to the streets and is the one that informs them that General Lamarque has passed away.
- Street Urchin: He was abandoned by his parents, the Thenardiers. In fact, he's the baby in the carrier that the Thenardiers switch with a guest's luggage during "Master of the House".
- Tagalong Kid: The boys didn't give him a gun despite knowing he'd be a part of the conflict, so he ends up standing around during the battles that take place at the barricade. Other than that, he sticks to Courfeyrac for much of the movie.
"One more day before the storm / At the barricades of freedom..."
"Red! The blood of angry men!
Black! The dark of ages past!
Red! A world about to dawn!
Black! A night that ends at last!"
The student revolutionary leader.
Les Amis de l'ABC
"Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!!"
The group of students that act to create a better future for France.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Subversion. Bossuet, who is described as so unlucky he was bald by 25 (but not necessarily ugly), has a full head of hair in the film.
- Played straight with Grantaire, who is explicitly stated to be ugly in the book. He's played by the relatively handsome George Blagden.
- Adaptation Distillation: The Amis all have distinct personality traits in the book that hardly made it into the musical as it is; the film goes further by not even bothering to name any of them save for Enjolras (and even then, watchers not familiar with the book or musical may not know that's a name).
- Big Brother Mentor: Courfeyrac to Gavroche.
- Butt Monkey: Joly comes off as this on one occasion during the film in which his gun is stolen by the Thenardiers.
- Dies Wide Open: All of them; this is a reference taken from the book.
- The Everyman: Combeferre, who doesn't have any official lines from the musical that make it into the film, is the most active of the Amis throughout the film.
- La Résistance
- Last Stand: Played straight when they all rise against the soldiers, and then subverted when the group is narrowed down to the last four students; the soldiers don't bother fighting them face to face... they end up shooting three of the four surviving students from beneath the floor.
- Meaningful Name: Their group name means 'The Friends of the Oppressed'.
- Sour Supporter: Grantaire's original cynicism in the book just barely makes it into the film in the form of his continuing to drink despite Enjolras' warning. Behind the scenes footage indicates that much of that footage was simply cut out. Grantaire turns out to be completely right about their chances of success.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Combeferre and some of the other boys aren't very pleased with Marius after he threatens to blow the barricade.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: The lot of them, save for Grantaire.
- You Look Familiar: Most of the Amis as well as other unnamed students that fight at the barricade are played by young men who have played the roles of Enjolras, Marius, and other roles in the musical on West End.