Originally, the book was written in French. The 2012 adaptation has English actors and they are expected to speak in English.

However, why do they speak with different accents?

Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen) speaks with a French accent, Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) with a (very strong) British accent, the remaining actors don't have a noticeable accent (to me, at least).

I could get it if it were only actor accents (Daniel Huttlestone is British), and not character accents. But Thénardier's french accent is definitely a character one.

Are they using different English accents to demonstrate different French accents of the original novel?


It could be that their accents are meant as indicators to their personality and class.

In the examples you give: Thénardier adopts a 'fake' french accent, to attempt to pass himself off as more sophisticated than he is. The fact the accent is French is unimportant, it's the act of pretense by Thénardier that is being portrayed.

Gavroche is an urchin, perhaps the bottom rung of the lowest class in society. His accent is thick cockney, which is analogous to being common and uneducated in British culture.

In disparity to this: Jean Valjean (whilst imitating someone of nobler birth) has correct enunciation and a statesmanlike presence. This is indicative of education, and a higher class citizen.

  • Great analysis, but disturbing profile pic :P – BlueMoon93 May 2 '17 at 14:16

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