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Word Count: 951
Jean Valjean He is in my opinion one of the most simple and at the same time one of the most complex characters ever written As readers follow his journey through Victor Hugos classic novel Les Miserables they come to see that Valjean is a passionate person and his story is one filled with many emotions Love hate shame guilt the need to prove oneself All of these timeless issues are embodied in this one mans voyage to freedom and happiness Through the years Les Miserables has been adapted into many things- movies plays and even musicals Every director has faced the challenge of bringing to life the multifaceted character of Valjean some succeed and some fail After viewing both Bille August and Glenn Jordans interpretation of the book I believe Augusts presentation of Jean Valjean is by far more believable as a human being In Glenn Jordans film Jean Valjean is played by Richard Jordan who seems too young an actor to master the intricate details of Valjeans personality and psyche As the film progresses Jordans acting becomes increasingly tedious and awkward and he makes no effort to add depth to his portrayal of Valjean as the character ages His actions seem calculated and cold as if he is merely reciting his lines instead of playing the part the emotions he speaks of never truly reach his eyes Jordan simply goes through the motions and as a result makes Valjean seem detached and uninteresting when the exact opposite is true On the other hand Bille Augusts film stars Liam Neeson as the good-hearted Frenchman who spends his life making up for his past mistakes Neeson has the ability to completely immerse himself in a role which is exactly what he does in this film He plays Valjean with such passion and poise that the viewer cannot help but sympathize and accept Valjeans flaws for his good intentions Neesons acting retains a powerful
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