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The Man Who Laughs (2012)

L'homme qui rit (original title)
2:02 | Trailer
A freak show performer's life is turned upside down when he is discovered to be the missing son of a disgraced noble.


Jean-Pierre Améris (scenario & adaptation), Victor Hugo (novel) | 1 more credit »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gérard Depardieu ... Ursus
Marc-André Grondin ... Gwynplaine
Emmanuelle Seigner ... La duchesse Josiane
Christa Théret ... Déa
Arben Bajraktaraj ... Hardquanone
Serge Merlin Serge Merlin ... Barkilphedro
Christèle Tual Christèle Tual ... Clémence
Swann Arlaud ... Sylvain
Romain Morelli Romain Morelli ... Gwynplaine enfant
Fanie Zanini Fanie Zanini ... Déa enfant
Vincent de Bouard Vincent de Bouard ... Le magistrat
Pascal Ternisien Pascal Ternisien ... Le valet de Clancharlie
Jan Hnilicka Jan Hnilicka ... Le valet de la duchesse
Ludmila Safárová Ludmila Safárová ... La fermière
Markéta Hrubesová ... La jolie paysanne


A freak show performer's life is turned upside down when he is discovered to be the missing son of a disgraced noble.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

suicide | letter | palace | queen | noble | See All (22) »




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Parents Guide:

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France | Czech Republic



Release Date:

26 December 2012 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Czlowiek smiechu See more »

Filming Locations:

Chotesov, Czech Republic See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Sylvain "plays" a tune on the glasses, the notes change even though he still uses the same glass. Also some notes are made by striking a glass, not by the method used by Sylvain. See more »


Version of L'homme qui rit (1971) See more »


Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
Written and performed by Arvo Pärt
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting story takes a sharp turn
8 February 2014 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Ursus (Gérard Depardieu) is a traveling herbalist who opens his door to two destitute kids. Déa (Christa Theret) is a blind girl who was found in the arms of her dead frozen mother. Gwynplaine (Marc-André Grondin) is a boy abandoned by doctor Hardquanone who cut up his face to resemble the Joker. As they grow up, Ursus realize that people are more fascinated with Gwynplaine's face than with his herbal knowledge. Eventually they become big stars that catch the attention of the duchess Josiane (Emmanuelle Seigner). Soon Gwynplaine's origin becomes even more shocking.

It's an interesting story of the french underclass very much similar to Victor Hugo's more famous work 'Les Misérables'. Then it takes a sharp turn. It causes the movie to stumble as it tries to get its feet back under it. There are too many injustice done to the three. The change in the characters are too abrupt. It becomes either piling on, or that the three are too stupid. This is a love story with too much interference. And the Romeo and Juliet ending really sinks it with its heavy handed melodrama.

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