A tale of injustice, heroism and love that follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway), driven to prostitution by poverty.
"Hugo's genius was for the creation of simple and recognizable myth. The huge success of Les Misérables as a didactic work on behalf of the poor and oppressed is due to his poetic and myth-enlarged view of human nature." —V. S. Pritchett
"It was Tolstoy who vindicated [Hugo's] early ambition by judging Les Misérables one of the world's great novels, if not the greatest… [His] ability to present the extremes of experience 'as they are' is, in the end, Hugo's great gift." —From the Introduction by Peter Washington