During my vacation I sorted through the collection of DVD’s and called the two grandpups to join me in the living room.  The three of us were going to watch Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, Uma Thurman as Fantine and Geoffrey Rush as the obsessed policeman driven by a legalistic attitude that defies grace or goodness.

I have given considerable thought to this story.  While I was watching the movie, I knew that I would write about it.  But, how do you blog in a few hundred words what Victor Hugo did in 1200 pages? 

These characters draw you into their individual lives.  Their lives are engrossed in struggle, conflicting values and plagued with circumstances beyond their control.  It is a mixture of inhumane travesty and generous mercy. 

I have chosen one theme to consider for this piece.  It is the struggle between Valjean and Fantine.  He is a convict in hiding but his promise to God to change is his new motivation in life.

Valjean helps Fantine, a local prostitute forced into desperate measures out of love for her daughter.  No one else would help her but just the opposite took advantage of her.  She lived to provide for her daughter entrusted to the care of selfish, cruel and greedy tavern owners.

Javert is the local police inspector.  He sees an episode that makes him suspicious of the Mayor.  He is self-absorbed and obsessed suspicious that the Mayor is in fact Valjean. 

The crime was stealing bread.  He was hungry and his family was hungry.  Not only did he pay for the crime in prison but also served for many years more for attempted escapes.  No thoughtful spectator could keep from shaking their head at the injustice of such a penalty long paid but still dogging this man from true freedom.

No matter how much grace Valjean displayed, Javert would not let up his self-justification of applying the law.  It is a common scenario of passion that far exceeded a not-so-mortal-an-offense.  The display was a hatred under that guise of justice.

In the end Javert is unable to come to grips with his desire to administer the law which was in conflict with Valjean’s constant display of goodness.  He takes his own life to end what he considered a pure devotion that had no place in life where grace instead should abound.  Redemption came when grace overcame law and death was the ultimate price.

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