These last few weeks I’ve been traveling around the country visiting various family members. That’s the main reason I haven’t been posting. But last night I watched the movie “Les Miserables” with my daughter. I think the movie deserves a brief review on this blog even though it’s a few years old.
The first thing that got my attention was the Universal Studios introductory graphic depicting the Earth at night. Compare it to an actual photo of Earth at night. Did they remove some lights from Europe and place them in the otherwise almost completely dark Africa? If so, why? My daughter thinks it was only to make the image more appealing. I told her that Hollywood doesn’t deserve any benefit of a doubt; their intention was probably to make Africa look more civilized, even from space.
Along the same lines, even though the setting was in early 19th century France, the producers thought it necessary to include black faces among the miserable prisoners in the beginning scene, and among the revolutionaries toward the end. Granted, blacks were not unknown in Europe at the time, but must they inject their diversity mania even into a historically based epic such as this?
Les Miserables promotes some dangerous ideas. The underlying theme is that anybody can be redeemed from a life of crime and become a saint. It implies that we must not be too harsh with criminals, rather we should treat them rather than punish them. It uses the priest to show us that if only we drown criminals with loving kindness, they’ll turn a new leaf and become assets to our society. Sometimes this turns out to be true, but many lives have been lost or ruined because people failed to recognize a sociopath. There’s a time for kindness and healing and there’s a time for severe punishment and caution. Les Miserables focuses only on the former. A society that coddles its criminals will end up being swallowed up by them.
As for the movie’s notion that love at first sight will lead to a lasting life of marital bliss, we can only hope few take it seriously. I suppose it’s alright in the context of a romantic tale… maybe I’m being too analytical here.
Overall I thought it was wonderfully made and I’ll give it credit for breaking with some of Hollywood’s more annoying habits. It portrays Christians in a positive light. Though it’s debatable whether Christianity has been good, overall, for Western civilization, it’s refreshing to see it not being demonized on screen. The acting was superb, but I guess that goes without saying.