When looking at the similarities and differences between the film portrayal and the original novel version of Les Miserables, you can see that there are many differences in ways of portraying. In the scene where Jean Valjean and the bishop first meet you notice that there were small differences between the film and the novel that made the bishop seem like a much more wiser, kinder, and more empathetic man.
“At this moment their was a violent knock on the door. ‘Come in!’ said the bishop. The door opened. It opened quickly, quite wide, as if pushed by some one boldly and with energy. A man entered. He came in, took one step, and paused, leaving the door open behind him.”(Hugo, 15-16) This quote is straight from the book describing how the bishop welcomes Valjean into his home.
Valjean, in the book did not stop trying to find food and shelter. Instead, after all the inns and people refused to feed and shelter him for one night, he went to the church and knocked on their doors. In the film, this scene was portrayed as though Valjean and given up trying to find shelter and food and decided to stay on the church porch for that night. A similarity in these two portrayals is the fact that either way, the bishop still decides to help Valjean out.
This scene might have been changed in the movie to show how genuine of a man the bishop truly was. “The bishop looked upon the man with a tranquil eye. … ‘See here! My name is Jean Valjean. I am a convict; .
.. I am very tired- twelve leagues on foot, and I am so hungry. Can I stay?’ ‘Madame Magloire,’ said the bishop, ‘put on another plate. … ‘Can you give me something to eat, and a place to sleep? Have you a stable?’ ‘Madame Magloire,; said the bishop, ‘put some sheets on the bed in the alcove.
‘”(Hugo, 16-17) This is the scene immediately after Valjean walks into the church. This describes that even though he knew that Valjean was a convict, the bishop still let him stay. In the film, the Bishop did not know who Valjean was. He was just a stranger to him, yet he still invited him in for dinner and let him stay for the night. The similarity, again was that the bishop was kind and thoughtful and let the man stay with them.
This change might have happened to show, again, how genuinely true the bishop really was. “‘Now,’ said the bishop, ‘go in peace. By the way, my friend, when you come again, you need not come through the garden. You can always come in and go out by the front door. It is closed only with latch, day or night.'”(Hugo, 33) This quote is when the bishop is talking to Valjean after the police catch him(Valjean) trying to escape town with all of the bishop’s silver.
In the book, the bishop says this line as if he thinks that Valjean would come back and woud visit occasionally, which he does not. In the film, the bishop does not ever say this line(or anything similar). I believe that this quote was taken out of the film to show that the bishop has more trust in Valjean and that he believes that he will not need to come back because he did something awful. Again, this proves that the differences in the portrayals of this scene makes the bishop seem like a better man. In conclusion, the differences in the portrayal of this scene makes the bishop seem like a much more wiser, kinder, and empathetic man.
The director, Tom Hooper, used his creative liberty to make this amazing man seem much more amazing.Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables.
Fawcett Premier, 1997. Les Misérables. Tom Hooper, performances by Hugh Jackman and Colm Wilkinson, Universal Pictures, 2012.