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.
- The Atoner: His storyline revolves around this.
- Doting Parent: To Cosette, partly to make up to his ignorance of what happened to her mother.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It doesn't last that long.
- The Fettered: Years of imprisonment and being on the run has taken its toll on him.
- I Just Want to Be Free: Javert doesn't want him to be.
- Love Redeems: Friendship and familial love.
- Meaningful Name: His name literally means, "a john as good as any other john."
- Must Make Amends: To society/God and to Cosette, as his goals change over the course of the story.
- Nice Guy: Thoroughly this, after his HeelFace Turn.
- Overprotective Dad: Won't let Cosette out of his sight.
- Parental Substitute: He becomes this to Cosette, thus fulfilling the promise he made to Fantine.
- Stock Foreign Name: His name translates into something like "John Johnson."
- Super Strength: He lifts a broken mast, a loaded cart, young Cosette on a rope and the unconscious Marius. The fact we see him unable to lift a small trunk when he leaves Cosette shows his physical decline.
- Technical Pacifist: Won't raise a hand against his enemies first, and despite the chaos of the climactic battle of the film, does not participate for the sake of saving Marius for Cosette.
- Turn the Other Cheek: After his encounter with the Bishop of Digne.
- You Are Number 6: His prisoner number is 24601.
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.
- By-the-Book Cop: His struggle with adhering to the rules vs. bending them for the sake of a genuinely honorable man leads to his death.
- Cool Sword: As an officer, he wears a sword that was the style of the time (a smallsword) and is quite skilled with it.
- Death by Falling Over: An intentional version. He allows himself to lose his footing and fall into the Seine river.
- Driven to Suicide: After Valjean shows him mercy, Javert gets morally confused and decides to jump off the bridge into the Seine river.
- The Reveal: During "The Confrontation". Valjean's last verse was even cut so viewers can clearly hear Javert drop this bombshell (though no surprise to book or theater fans).Javert: I was born inside a jail! I was born with scum like you! I am from the gutter, too!
- Stern Chase: With the exception of the time he joins the students to act as a spy, he spends the ENTIRE STORY doing this.
- Villain Respect: Pinning his Legion d'Honneur, awarded for courage in battle, on the coat of the dead Gavroche.
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.
- 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.
- Broken Bird: As a result of
- Decoy Protagonist: Anne Hathaway got top billing as lead actress. The trailers don't indicate she dies.
- Defiled Forever: How she's treated as a result of having Cosette out of wedlock.
- 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 / Traumatic 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.
- Missing Mom: To Cosette, as she can't afford to take care of her on her own.
- Trauma Conga Line: 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.
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 to differentiate her from Eponine.
- Barefoot Poverty: As a child, she wears no shoes.
- 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.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She has blonde hair and is a fairly nice person.
- 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: Quite literally, since she falls in love with Marius at they first encounter even if they don't exchange a single word.
- Morality Pet: Valjean spells this out to her as he was dying."It's the story of one who turned from hating. A man who only learned to love when you were in his keeping."
- 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 Time Skip, Cosette has matured into a beautiful woman.
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.
- Badass Boast: When he threatens to blow up the barricade.
- Death Seeker: He goes to the barricade with the intent to die because he thinks he'll have to live a life without Cosette.
- Love at First Sight: He falls for Cosette before they even talk, exactly the same as her.
- Meaningful Name: Meta version. Redhead played by Redmayne.
- Oblivious to Love: Towards Éponine. Quite a lot of her character arc revolves around the fact that she's in love with him and he doesn't even notice.
- Secretly Wealthy: He didn't agree with his grandfather's politics and is disowned by him until they reconcile at the end of the film. Best explained in the sung line of 'won't spend a franc that I've not earned' when Eponine finds out his secret.
- Sole Survivor: Thanks to the intervention of Jean Valjean, he is the only revolutionaire to survive at the barricade.
- Survivor Guilt: "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables" is about this.
- Tenor Boy: He is a fairly innocent person and his actor Eddie Redmayne has a tenor voice.
- Youthful Freckles: Look at 'em. And being young and naive is a major part of his character.
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.
- Abusive Parents: To Cosette, who wasn't their child but still under their care, and to Eponine later on in the film when she spoils a robbery attempt Thenardier was going to make on Valjean and Cosette's home.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Normally played by an older man with some degree of thinning hair and a larger woman (to reflect the book's description of her as an almost manly looking woman) respectively in the play. Here they're played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter.
- Dirty Coward: Neither Monsieur nor Madame Thenardier participate in the battles at the barricades, though arguably this is because their goal is to loot the bodies of the chaos right afterwards. Monsieur Thenardier in the book is implied to have abandoned a battle during the war as well..
- Evil Is Petty: Both of them take what they can get from their guests and Mme. tries to cheat Valjean out of as much money as possible until her husband botches her attempt to get anything more from him.
- The Fagin: Conspires with their daughter and the Patron-Minette when stealing from people in Paris.
- French Jerk: Sacha Baron Cohen breaks out an accent for Master of the House that would fit right in in the final act of History of the World Part I. Noteworthy since everyone else, despite playing a Frenchman or Frenchwoman, is Not Even Bothering with the Accent.
- Happily Married / Unholy Matrimony: Madame's "I used to think that I would meet a prince/But god almighty have you seen what's happened since?" lines are a genuine complaint in the play; here they are only to get close to a guest and pick his pockets.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: They seem genuinely upset to hear that Fantine is dead... and then try to screw Valjean out of as much of his money as they can in exchange for taking her away.
- Karma Houdini: Thenardier gets punched in the face by Marius, and the both of them get thrown out of a party but that's about it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: One small exception to the above in Monsieur's case: during the song "Master of the House," Monsieur is seen pissing into a wine bottle to fill it up before passing it out to a customer. At the end of the song the bottle finds its way back into Monsieur's hands, who takes a swig and spits it out.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Their appearance at Marius and Cosette's wedding leads Marius and Cosette finding Valjean moments before he dies.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Their attempt to cheat Valjean out of money a second time inadvertently leads to Javert becoming aware that Valjean might be in the city.
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: Being a destitute daughter of the Thénardiers, she walks with no shoes on.
- Book-Ends: The movie rendition of "On My Own" omits the prelude, so the song begins and ends with a Title Drop.
- 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.
- Faux Action Girl: She carried a pistol into the battle but we never see her use it.
- 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.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: "And rain will make the flowers (grow)".
- Love Redeems: Friendship and Romantic Love.
- Male Gaze: Every time the camera cuts to her in "One Day More", it gets closer and closer while she's getting dressed.
- 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.
- Tagalong Kid: She's with the ABC's because of Marius. Though she hangs around their HQ, none of them really talk to her. Yet she was the first to die.
- Token Good Teammate: To her parent's criminal gang.
- Unkempt Beauty: Still pretty despite being covered in dirt.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Foil: To Fauchelevant, the gravedigger Valjean helped, and in turn hid him and Cosette in a convent. Gavroche was manhandled by Javert and paid him back by blowing his cover to Les Amis.
- Ignored Epiphany: He should have listened to Valjean who told him not to go back to the barricade.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: He dies just as he is about to finish his reprise of "Little People".
- 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.
Black! The dark of ages past!
Red! A world about to dawn!
Black! A night that ends at last!"
The student revolutionary leader.
- Angry Mob Song: ALL of his solos involve rallying the people.
- Badass Longcoat: A signature for his character.
- Celibate Hero: Love for France is the only love he has.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Out a window.
- Died Standing Up: Before getting shot out a window.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: The red jacket comes from the stage adaptation, and is an easy indicator of who the leader of the Amis are.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Subverted and ironic in that he's an idealist himself; he thinks Marius is treating the revolution like a game and tells Marius that he is no longer a child when Marius says he's fallen in love with a girl he describes as 'a burst of light'.
- What Is One Man's Life in Comparison?: Cites this as the reason why Marius should favor the revolution over pursuing love, which is already true of many of the young men in the Amis anyway - they're all giving up families and lives as students to fight for the cause and thinks Marius should as well.Enjolras: Who cares about your lonely soul? We strives toward a larger goal, our little lives don't count at all!
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.
- Guns Akimbo: Combeferre can be seen Dual Wielding pistols after the barricade is raised.
- La Résistance: They're a student group who want to fight against the king and his government.
- 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.