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''Les Miserables'' Film Reviews: A Powerful Depiction of the Gospel

( [email protected] ) Jan 11, 2013 05:39 AM EST
Christian authors and commentators are urging people to watch the movie version of "Les Miserables", which is adapted from the Broadway production that began in 1987 and won eight Tony Awards, including best new musical. While the movie has received a total of eight Academy Award nominations, including best picture, it portrays a powerful depiction of the gospel.
Hugh Jackman in Tom Hooper's adaptation of ''Les Miserables.''

Christian authors and commentators are urging people to watch the movie version of "Les Miserables", which is adapted from the Broadway production that began in 1987 and won eight Tony Awards, including best new musical. While the movie has received a total of eight Academy Award nominations, including best picture, it portrays a powerful depiction of the gospel.

The story takes place in 19th century France, centering on the life of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman, X-Men), a convict seeking to elude his captors in the years following the French Revolution. Pursuing him is police inspector Javert (Russel Crowe, Beautiful Mind), a man obsessed with maintaining law and order within French society.

Valjean, or Prisoner 24601 as he was known during his nearly 20 years of imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread to save his starving relatives, emerges as “a very mean, angry, dejected, depressed man.”

Unable to find work because of his mark as an ex-convict, Valjean struggles to survive until he is directed to seek refuge from Bishop Bienvenue who was known by his flock to be a particularly benevolent and holy man.

The bishop heartily welcomes Valjean as an honored guest in his home. Valjean is touched, but still desperate, and steals the silver place-settings from his host’s house.

When he is soon brought back by the police, the bishop denies that the pieces were stolen saying that they were, in fact, a gift.

In addition to letting Valjean keep the silver and protecting him from the police, Bishop Bienvenue “buys” the ex-convicts soul for God with two silver candlesticks, telling him to use the treasure to begin a virtuous new life.

What follows is a game of cat and mouse that extends across decades, during which Valjean encounters Fantine (Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises), a poor French woman who is forced to turn to prostitution to support her child, a girl who Valjean eventually agrees to raise as his own. As the years pass, Valjean gets caught up in the war between French revolutionaries and the government they seek to supplant. This forces him to choose between running from his fate or confronting it head-on. Supporting cast members include Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls) and Helena Bonham Carter (the Harry Potter series).