The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who Laughs

French adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1869 novel (the sixth big-screen version), from the director of Romantics Anonymous. Taking a theatrical tone, the story follows Gwynplaine (Marc-André Grondin) whose facial scar leaves him with a kind of permanent smile. Abandoned by the Comprachicos, who kidnapped him and slashed his face a few years earlier, Gwynplaine is taken in by Ursus (Gérard Depardieu) together with a beautiful blind girl, Déa (Christa Théret).

They move from village to village, performing a show whose star is the now grown-up Gwynplaine. Everywhere he goes, his smile evokes laughter and emotion in the audience that adores him. Life goes on until it is discovered that this scarred man is the heir to a large and noble family. Giddy with this sudden wealth and the carnal passions of a duchess, he distances himself from the only two people who have ever loved him for who he really is.

Says director Jean-Pierre Améris: "Hugo touches on the personal, the social, and even the metaphysical. He was all about duality – hell and heaven, the poor and the rich, the stage and the real world. That’s what I love about him."

2012Rating: PG93 minsFrance, Czech RepublicFrench with English subtitles
DramaWorld Cinema

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Reviews & comments

Much simplified take on Victor Hugo's novel.

Victor Hugo's novel spreads throughout four volumes and it makes a rather intense depiction of the social and historical context (England early 18th century) while depicting a complexe romance. Admitedly, the novel suffered from too much detailing according to the author himself. It's not the easiest of Victor Hugo's novel to read so I guess not the easiest...

3.0

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Much simplified take on Victor Hugo's novel.

Victor Hugo's novel spreads throughout four volumes and it makes a rather intense depiction of the social and historical context (England early 18th century) while depicting a complexe romance. Admitedly, the novel suffered from too much detailing according to the author himself. It's not the easiest of Victor Hugo's novel to read so I guess not the...

3.0