There are masterpieces of literature from world human history that touch most of our lives. Les Miserables is one of those incredible works of art. Victor Hugo served the entire world well when he penned this novel in the 19th century.
It became popularized as a musical. Perhaps this adaption can be argued to be one of the best musical productions of all-time. The songs are riveting and lyrics stir the souls of so many.
This movie has captured the story of these lives caught up in the ugly circumstances of life where poverty, oppression and wickedness offend the good senses of humanity. Themes of grace and legalism form the backdrop of this story. Javert is the obsessed inspector who personified legalism, representing people who judge others with the sharp edge of the law with no measure of mercy or leniency. In contrast is Jean Valjean who is the recipient of grace and turns his life into giving that grace away as often as he could.
The cast is brilliant. Anne Hathaway plays Fantine. Her performance is Oscar-worthy.
You are swept along through each tragedy that she suffers in sacrifice for her daughter, Cosette. Poverty and the inevitable abuse that women endure grips your soul. Throughout time this story pleads for mankind to end the plight of women mired in the grips of economic woes.
Hugh Jackman deserves an Oscar for his role as Jean Valjean. From his life as a survivor in prison to the desperate bitterness of the life lived as a convicted felon to the transformation into a life that values grace, he delivers a powerful in-character role that could easily be his signature professional performance. He makes you see and believe every turn, twist and struggle in his life that is doggedly pursued by the vicious judgemental legalistic ire of the self-righteous Javert.
Samantha Barks plays the role of Eponine. It is a support role from every perspective but when she is center stage, she delivers. Each expression of her soul is gripping, heart-rending and soul-searching.
The child actors are ideal. They sing with bravado and stir your spirit. Hang on to your tissue when one young life ends at the shots of the French army and another cowers under that abuse of a would-be benefactor.
Too many lives ended in sadness. But, life has its greatest meaning when it is captured and passed on to those of us who keep on living. As long as God is seen in life and the life hereafter, then we can live for Him today with the lessons learned about grace and law.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography