A Review of the Film Les Misrables, The Struggle For Economic Freedom and Prosperity Versus Oppression and Poverty With Many Viewers Comments Included
by Carlton Pruitt 01/10/13
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The title for this article could have been Is the State Your God? However, this article is more a film review of Les Misérables so I'll keep it simple and stick with that as more readers are familiar with this classic book perhaps than the idea of statism.
I haven't seen this film but I've read the reviews and they are mixed with some pros and some cons. There is some profanity and nudity in this film from what I've been told it so perhaps it should be avoided. This is not an endorsement by any means but perhaps the profanity and nudity is no worse than you might see on the beach on a hot summer's day in Southern California.
I understand the PG ratings should have been an R rating but knowing Hollywood's greediness to expand it's market for the love of money it slid by the censors somehow.
I haven't decided if I will see what many are calling an excellent film or not yet. However, I'm posting this article not as an encouragement to see the film but because of the debate over economic freedom and prosperity versus oppression and poverty that Jeffrey brings up in his article. This is the reason Jeffrey thinks it is important to see but one could just as well read Frederick Bastiat's The Law and gain equal if not more insight without the visual hindrances to one's Christian faith. As far as the nudity one would hope it
Any film not fit for a child to see is not worthy of an adults viewing because we must enter the kingdom of God as "little children" as Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14
NOTE: I will be posting some film reviews from many professing Christians some in favor and some not in favor of watching this film. It is interesting and disturbing how the religious community is divided over such films much like doctrine. When, short of heaven, will there ever be a unity of thought among those claiming to be disciples of Jesus? The early church were of one mind. Let us seek to be the same.
Javert's Religion of Statism: A Review of the Film Les Misérables
By Jeffrey Tucker
Those who take prosperity for granted -- and all of us do whether we admit it or not -- would do well to make their way to the film Les Misérables, which features Russell Crowe playing the role of the relentless French cop Javert (not to mention an astonishingly effective presentation of "I Dreamed the Dream" by Anne Hathaway).
This film brilliantly pictures a level of poverty that none of us has ever known. We do well to reflect on it and the reasons that we do experience such poverty now (hint: it's not because of Congress.)
And such images are an effective rebuke to the new primitivists of the left and right who tell us that we should go back to simpler times, to restrict, to growth, to curb our use of everything from gas to water to food. Let this movie stand as a monument to what poverty really means. It is not romantic. It is gritty, gross, painful, and inhumane.
Not surprisingly, this poverty is accompanied by a ruthless government suppression of individual freedom, showing just how much poverty and statism are actually directly related in this world.
Poverty on this level is something we have a very difficult time understanding. But the novel's author Victor Hugo saw it all around him where he lived in Paris. He wrote the novel in 1832 during very difficult economic times in France. The currency was depreciating. The crops were failing. Food was in short supply. A cholera epidemic had hit Paris, which itself was overrun by immigrants from many nations in Europe who had been tossed out from their home countries.
It was particularly grim in cities like Paris. The political solutions of the time favored either the reactionary solution of repudiating republican principles in favor of the monarchy or the revolutionary tendency toward yet another expropriation of the aristocracy. A third alternative in the time was later represented by the greater thinker Frederic Bastiat, who pushed the idea of laissez faire -- that is, removing government completely from the picture and letting prosperity rise by the strength of private initiative.
The film opens In the midst of this mess, in the twentieth year of convict Jean Valjean's grueling punishment for having stolen a single loaf of bread. He is released from slave labor but put on parole for life. Javert swears that he will enforce this parole come what may, and he does so until the end. The law is his devotion. To his mind, the state that made and enforces the law, and for which he works because doing so gives his life meaning, is the arbiter of all justice and that justice must be blind regardless of circumstances.
The irony strikes us immediately. Twenty years of hard labor and a lifetime of reporting to a parole officer solely for a petty act of theft? Surely this is disproportionate. Indeed, it is cruel and pointless.
Ah and what is the law that it can claim the moral high ground here? The law is the thing that taxes, that steals the purchasing power of money, that kills in wars, that brings misery on the population so that its connected elites can live well at the population's expense. The state steals far more than scraps of bread. It steals property from the people as the very source of its own sustenance, and also and therefore lives, hope, and the future itself.
As Bastiat would later write, the purpose of law is to protect property and life, but the state turns law on its head, making it into an instrument of plunder. In so doing, the law gives up the moral high ground, enforcing edicts among the general population that the state itself routinely violates in the course of the normal work of government. All the agents of the state produce no wealth on their own but enjoy their privileged position entirely at the expense of everyone else.
Javert himself is a good example of this. He has plenty amidst poverty. He dresses well among people living in rags. He enjoys security in a sea of people who live hand to mouth and have no sense of what tomorrow might bring. He is a living and walking hypocrite, but he never really sees it. He imagines himself as an instrument of justice but he is actually a source of injustice.
Still, Javert will not relent. He chases Jean Valjean from place to place, outing him as a criminal, persecuting him wherever he finds him, determined to see him strung up not only for his act of petty theft but, most importantly, for his outrageous defiance of the state in failing to show up for parole. Javert himself believes in his heart that his quest it is not personal. It is a matter of following through with his job which is the enforcement of the law. To his way of thinking, the law is either valid --- regardless of what our moral intuition might say -- or his life and the state to which it is committed is a complete lie.
I could not watch this brilliant film without thinking of all the ways in which the state and its agents today do the same thing as Javert -- thanks to a completely unthinking devotion to the idea that whatever the law says is right. Marijuana smoking might be harmless and practiced safely and routinely by tens of millions of people, but because the law says that its production, distribution, and consumption is illegal, people are arrested, looted, and thrown in jail every day solely because the law says that it must be so.
This is just the most high profile case of the law's absurdity. Every business, every sector of society, is subjected to a plethora of mandates and restrictions that make Napoleon's regime seem like a paragon of freedom by contrast. You need only to set out to take on some enterprising task to discover the endless thicket of regulations and taxes, restrictions and mandates that govern every aspect of life today.
The state takes up to 40% of our income and what it can't steal it borrows from the future. And yet this very state is the one that dares claim to enforce justice and peace among the general population, prohibiting us from stealing from each other, harassing or intimidating each other, and from using the threat of violence to get our way. The state is the least compliant with the law of any institution in society.
Under such conditions, we all do what Jean Valjean did: seeing that compliance with the law means giving up all hope for happiness, we choose life over obedience. By doing so, we are aware that we are committing a revolutionary act in our own small way. We are aware that if we are found out, we will pay the price. But we take the risk in any case, because we are sure of our rights, because we believe innately that we should be free, and because there is so much to be gained by saying no to those who presume ownership over our lives.
Most of us do not face the decision of whether to evade parole. But we do other things every day that we know our masters would not like and would punish if they knew. We try to keep as much of our own income and liberty as we can. More and more, it is obvious to us, as it has been obvious to any population living under despotism, that total obedience is for suckers.
In 19th century France, and in 18th century America, the belief that there was a line that the government must never cross gave rise to what was known as the liberal movement of which both Victor Hugo and Frederic Bastiat were members. Hugo had the poetry and the drama. But it was Bastiat who saw the answers in the form of economic freedom.
Sixteen years after Hugo wrote Les Misérables, Bastiat wrote The Law -- a brilliant tract that explained that the answer to social and economic problems was not a different form of government -- republican legislatures, democratic mobs, or autocratic monarchs can all be oppressive -- but to devolve all power away from government to people in their capacity as owners and self-managers.
Two paths for reform are shown in the novel, play, and film. The first is that of armed revolution. It fails -- not only in fiction but in real life in the Paris Revolt of 1832. The second path is more subtle. Jean Valjean shows a simple act of mercy to Javert. Javert is moved but realizes that if this mercy is true and right, his life and occupation are wrong and therefore must end. This moral revolution -- which takes place one person at a time -- is the more effective path.
The film Les Misérables is worth seeing because -- whether intentionally or not -- it draws attention to the great struggle between freedom and prosperity, on the one hand, and oppression and poverty on the other. It should be seen alongside a solid re-read of Bastiat's monograph The Law, which adds the legal and economic precision to Hugo's sweeping vision of the human plight. Both serve as reminders that the struggle never ends.
The following are anonymous viewer comments ranging from *postive to neutral to negative which are not based on Jeffrey Tucker's review. Keep this in mind as you read these comments below.
The decision whether you should see this film is really a matter between you and God. You must weigh the evidence against the Bible and your own conscience. Would you please drop me a line and let me know what your thoughts are? Would you see this film? Why or why not?
Positive— Let me begin by saying that I was introduced to Les Miserables at fifteen via a member of my church. Through the plot spanning twenty-five years through the June uprising of 1832, Les Miserables is a story of Jean Valjean’s struggle for redemption from hardened convict to weary father-figure. This movie is a stunning blend of a reinvention of the stage show and moments directly from Victor Hugo’s 1862 epic. The cinematography is beautiful and the singing is wonderful and real. Tom Hooper doesn’t shy away from the gritty realism of the extreme poor. To provide for her daughter, Fantine sells her hair, her teeth, and her body, becoming a prostitute. Although disturbing, it shows the reality of such a situation. It is brutal, but the slinking, emaciated women are not glamorous, and it serves a point of showing what Fantine has to do in a fallen world with no options left. The majority of the violence is in the student revolt as, for a brief shot, the streets literally run red with blood. However, most of the battle sequences are shot so that no graphic deaths are shown. There is one exception of two students facing a firing squad, but that is brief. Arguably the most violence is when Inspector Javert commits suicide by jumping from the Pont-Au-Change into the swirling Seine below. There is an audible crack when his body slams into the parapet beneath him. The worst material as far as being “offensive” goes comes in the “Master of the House” number. Usually rollicking fun (if bawdy) in the stage show, this is the point where I think Hooper really pushed it too far. Thenerdier stealing everybody blind shows what type of a person he is, including a scene involving the innkeeping couple grinding up rats for sausage was a bit much. That said, all the squalor and depravity of the world in which Valjean lives highlights the redemption and grace he finds through salvation; from the Bishop’s second chance to the “eye of God” symbolically watching as the ex-convict prays unselfishly. The glory of such a message rises above the gritty moments. Les Miserables is ultimately about redemption: who gets it, who doesn’t, who accepts it, and who can’t bear to. For older teens and adults, Les Miserables is absolutely a must-see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—M. A. Berry, age 20 (USA)
Positive—This movie adaptation of the Broadway Musical definitely promotes a Christian world-view. Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who served 19 years in prison as a slave laborer as punishment for a minor crime. He is understandably bitter as a result of his experience. His world-view, however, is changed because of an act of forgiveness—really unmerited grace—extended to him by a priest early in the story. Jean Valjean comes to understand that his life is in God’s hands. For the remainder of his life, Jean Valjean lives to help others—whether it is a man pinned down by a runaway cart, the orphan Cosette, her love interest, Marius (among many others), or even his mortal enemy, Jean Valjean consistently extends to others grace and mercy that he himself has received. Through it all he sacrifices much and goes through a lot of suffering. In the end, he comes to realize that God had a purpose for everything that he went through. Ultimately, this is the story of a man who discovers God’s purpose for his life, even a life filled with much difficulty and suffering.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—James, age 57 (USA)
Positive—Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what a singularly… odd review. Yes, this movie is grim. Yes, this movie is gritty. Yes, I found the “Master of the House” scene to be somewhat more vulgar than expected, and yes I wish it had been dialed back to some degree. Yet this review focuses solely on these elements, and not how much positivity is portrayed in the film. When is the last time we saw such a clear cut redemptive tale on film, and had such redemption credited to God? Jean Valjean is one of the most unashamedly Christian characters in culture. He turns his life around and dedicates it to God. He consistently disregards his own desires in order to follow the leanings of God, often risking his life, his personal happiness, and his good name. If he is to be called anything but a Christian character for his refusal to judge people, for his dedication to ministering to others, to caring for the lowest of the low, and for forgiving his enemies, then I believe you may be reading a different Bible than the or I read. Regarding the character of Javert, I did not see him as some sort of representation of Hollywood’s “take” on Christianity. Javert is nothing if not sincere in his beliefs, and he accurately represents the misguided groups of people who so desperately to find a faith that is based in forgiveness, not in works. He is not some kind of caricature: he is (or should be) a call to action for us all. Finally, if you believe that the film or the story in any way glorifies the dark underbelly of the world, you are missing the point entirely. In no way is it glorified. The one other sex scene in the film is so utterly loveless and inglorious that it would be hard not to understand its purpose to give us insight into Fantine’s plight. By the time the finale rolls around and Valjean’s journey is complete we should be able to feel his faith coming to fruition. The emotion and meaning is so clear. “We’ll some, good and faithful servant.” Victor Hugo once wrote in Les Miserables, that “The greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved—loved for ourselves, or better still, loved in spite of ourselves.” If this is not the message we are to be taught as Christians, then I am sorely mistaken.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lani, age 20 (USA)
Positive—I am so surprised and “extremely offended” by this negative review… I expected to see nothing but praise for a movie that so beautifully shows the love and redemption of God, especially in the character of Jean Valjean. The love that the priest shows him changes his life, and he becomes someone who shines with mercy and love. Javert, in contrast, is someone who considers himself devout but is nothing but an angry and vengeful man who is lacking in any human kindness or mercy. He is a “pharisee” and lives with the letter of the law but no compassion or true sense of God whatsoever. I have seen this musical on stage twice and the movie is very faithful in it’s portrayal. In terms of sexuality I felt the movie toned it down! I often disagree with your reviews but I am so disappointed and amazed that you did not see the most beautiful expression of the love of god and how Jean Valjean truly lived it! This is one of the best movies I have seen especially in terms of how we should live to show God’s love.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Debbie, age 54 (USA)
Positive—I wasn’t sure what to expect with “Les Miserables.” I’d heard some good and some bad reviews of it, and also had mixed feelings from what I had seen in previews and heard in sound clips. While it wasn’t a perfect movie, I definitely came away pleased. The immorality was less than I thought it was going to be, based on some reviews. I think all that was mentioned was there, but most of it was going on in the background, and I was watching the foreground (at least, my guess is that’s what was going on in the background; I didn’t look). There was a scene cut, because I was viewing it in the Middle East. I will add that there were things that were hinted at, and immodesty throughout. There was not more swearing than there is in the musical—if anything, there was less, because of things they cut or changed.
The sewers were absolutely disgusting. You could tell it was sewage. Which is realistic, but gross. They did cut verses and reorder songs. The cutting was sad sometimes, but other times it cut out songs or verses that weren’t as good morally. I didn’t mind the re-ordering of songs, since they seemed to fit better where they were put now. I really enjoyed most of the singing. Russell Crowe was disappointing. He just sounded… stuffy. Marius alone seemed to combine singing and acting in a way that both were the best. Most of the singers sounded weak—I don’t mean bad voices, just they didn’t have power. Nobody “thundered.” This was highlighted for me when there was ensemble singing and then it went to a solo. It lost all its intensity when that happened. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kyleigh, age 19 (United Arab Emirates)
Positive—I am very surprised that the reviewer and others would have a negative view. I think that this film was a wonderful embrace of God and of Christianity. Of course, it’s not for children, and I would never recommend it for them. But not everything is for children. Yes, there are scenes of death, evil, suicide, prostitution. But those scenes are there for a reason. Look at all of the positive messages! A former criminal is shown mercy by a priest and embraces God. He embarks on a new path, determined to be a good, honest better Christian person. Included in his new mission of love is to adopt the daughter of a dying woman and raise her well. She is good and honest and marries a nice young man. Many cast members in the film look to God, and they famously declare that “to love another person is to see the face of God”. This film is filled with characters who look to God for guidance. It’s a film of compassion, love, mercy.
Yes, there are very difficult scenes, but I am very dismayed that people would give this a negative review. The negative scenes, of poverty, prostitution, death, etc. They are there for a reason! Not to be exploitative. This is a beautiful film about being a good honest Christian, being kind, taking mercy and loving others. It’s not easy to watch, of course, but I enjoyed it. And the music is great, too!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Alan, age 35 (USA)
Neutral—I cannot, as a Christian, recommend this film. I love the story, it is one of the most touching I have ever seen. The quality of this film is unmatched. The acting was literally the best I have ever seen, for any film. The songs were so moving, I felt as if it could touch the world. If this were a non Christian reading this, I would say, please, go see this film. But, as a Christian, I cannot in good conscience recommend this film, mainly because of its graphic portrayals in too many scenes, even when not warranted, nor expected, of immodesty. I don’t even understand why some of it is in there, except to offend. Some may argue realism, but the one thing it really does is offend.
I was so glad for the Christian incidence, especially in the songs. But I just can’t understand why people would make scenes that kids shouldn’t watch. What a waste of such a powerful message, there is a way to impact, without offending.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tim Stromer, age 46 (USA)
Neutral—…What about towards the end of the Movie, where the battle takes place, where the “All Seeing Eye” Evil Illuminati eye is displayed several times in the back ground. I Personally believe this has some thing to do with Brain Washing Christians to Accept The Eye of Horus. God Bless.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ronni, age 36 (Sri Lanka)
Neutral—I have seen the play three times and had become increasingly disturbed by the suggestiveness portrayed, to the point that I had decided to never see it again, though I still admire the major theme of law vs. Grace in this story. I then decided to see the movie. It was well made from a production standpoint, and some of the acting and singing (Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and the girl who played Eponine) were very good, not so much Russell Crowe (singing).
However, what ended up bothering me the most (after the offensiveness of the sexual scenes and the use of Jesus” name in vain in one of the songs) was the ending. As Jean Valjean dies and walks away from his mortal body, presumably to heaven, he is greeted by all the departed of revolutionaries, etc. In a sweeping rendition on the set of the final song (“When Tomorrow comes”), and I suddenly thought “really, really, is this meant to portray that all these people are with the Lord (?), none of whom were portrayed as even remotely redeemed throughout the film!” Somehow, that final scene said that we are all “okay” as long as we try to “do good” here, or are so poor we have had no chance. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Married Lady And Mom, age 66 (USA)
Negative—Have you ever been to a magnificent restaurant. It was all there, the atmosphere, violins playing in the background, the linens, the silver, the maitre d’ and a delicious soup was served The aroma and taste are amazing, but then you notice a hair in the soup, and it isn’t your hair. That’s how I felt about “Les Miserable.” First, know that it is more opera than musical, my husband commented “what were there, 100 songs?”, but he admitted they were good songs. Russell Crowe’s voice was a little weak, but his character portrayal more then compensated. The sets are lavish. The songs are beautiful . I have been greatly moved by every version of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece on forgiveness and redemption ,and by this, also, but not as much.
Hugo was a Catholic, but, like many believers, left the faith, perhaps overwhelmed with the political upheaval of the time and personnel loss, several or all of his children died tragic deaths. The time period is after the “enlightenment” had ushered in the French Revolution. This socialist peoples revolution was an anti-God revolution, and, like all atheistic revolutions, the Church and clerics were its target, laity and cleric murdered, persecuted and the Church weakened. The socialist peoples government could not fill the spiritual and physical needs of the masses and the ensuing poverty, darkness, and hopelessness is amply portrayed. Napoleon allowed religion, but I think controlled as he saw it provided morality and hope.
And so for the hair in the soup. Anne Hathaway character is forced into prostitution, a little too much detail as a soldier “buys” her wares in a box on the Warf as she sings” doesn’t he know he makes love to somebody already dead?” The decadence a little too graphic. The Santa scene in the brothel was very offensive. So, unlike the other versions I have seen, the movie is definitely not for family viewing… Which is a shame because it is a good story.
The gospel is there if you look for it, forgiveness, redemption and the triumphant of good over evil if not in this life, in the next, but the evil in this film overshadows any good it might have done. I can’t believe “Christians “are saying this is a tool for evangelization. How low has our moral bar been lowered. ?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Susan, age 55 (USA)
Negative—First, I have not read the book or seen any other portrayal of this story. This is my first experience. The filmography and music where, to put it mildly, phenomenal. So much passion in the acting and music, that it moved me deeply. The story is one of conversion and forgiveness. I found that very powerful. That being said, I was very offended by the extreme sexual content. There were things that could have been alluded to, and not so graphically shown. A lot of immodesty and brashness.
As a Christian, I can not recommend this movie. If you want to be moved, listen to the sound track—truly beautiful music. I was very disappointed by the sexual content. I never, ever watch a movie with this level of sexual content, and I kick myself for not investigating further before watching it. Hope this review helps other believers, in their decision on whether to go or not.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Claire, age 42 (USA)
Negative—If the prostitution scene (where even after looking away, I could still hear the sound of the man’s sexual release) weren’t enough, there is a scene where a woman is sitting on Santa yelling “oh Santa!” I walked out after that. The theme of grace and mercy that I saw was nice, but it does not take away the fact that I don’t care to have those sounds or images seared in my memory. I think the sounds and images you have in an intimate relationship like marriage should stay there. And I prefer not to glimpse them occurring between others.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Katherine, age 24 (USA)
Negative—What great songs, moments and themes there were (and yes there were many) were completely marred by the vulgarity and lewd racy content.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John, age 42 (USA)
Negative— I saw it last night and felt like walking out but did not want to upset my husband only to find out he also wanted to walk out. I closed my eyes and put my head down on a lot of it. If we look back on history we can find that most of this was true. Such poverty and dirty, filthy starving adults and children with depravity of all kinds. Yes and that is why the revolution came about, but the movie was over the top with being very offensive. I did not see nudity but how close can you get? Unless it was when I had my head down. The first time I saw the play on stage was in Boston some 25 years ago, I had such good memories of it and now it has all been crushed. I wish I had never gone. :(
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Mary, age 63 (USA)
Negative—I liked this movie, but I sat next to a family that had their young son and daughter with them. I hurt for those kids for the same reasons mentioned. It is vile during some scenes, and not knowing the story very well, I just thought it was part of the original. I’m so happy to know it’s not. If I had read these reviews beforehand (and I wish that I had), I would not have seen this movie. So the movie quality is excellent, but the offensive scenes are just too intolerable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Michelle, age 47 (USA)
Negative—This movie was terrible. I agree that is was dark overall. We walked out on part of this movie, so did not even see the worst parts. I counted the taking of the Savior’s name in vain five times. It glorified ugliness and degeneracy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Stephanie, age 48 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—Wise words and well spoken in the two reviews above. Wisdom usually comes with age and experience, but not always (thank you both Katherine and Claire). I have not viewed this new movie yet; I have only seen the trailer a few times, yet I have seen both the musical in NYC and the more recent movie. I have read the book, and it is marvelous, amazing, and deeply touches your soul. Nevertheless, I appreciate the above reviews and don’t think I want to see this new adaptation! It would spoil the beauty of the story I have in my mind. Viewers would do well to beware.
—Charity, age 58 (USA)
Negative—I have read the book and also seen the older movie version. I attended this movie with my three twenty-something daughters and a boyfriend of one of them. I was so embarrassed. We did decide to walk out after the innkeeper scene. It was totally unnecessary to the movie, and I don’t recall the book being like that. It was just to satisfy the public taste of today. We all remarked how dirty we felt after watching it. Do not see this movie, if you care anything about modesty. I am also disappointed that many Christians and Christian movie review sites give this movie a good review, with the understanding that children should not see it. Nobody should see it!
—Barbara, age 55 (USA)
Neutral—I was initially intrigued when I read that Tom Hooper (director of the excellent television miniseries” “Elizabeth I” and the so-so “John Adams” and the terrific drama “The King’s Speech”) was going to direct a new film version of Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Miserables. However, my enthusiasm faded quickly when I read that it would be based, not on the novel, but on the long-running stage musical. First off, let me mention, if I may, that I enjoy musicals. “The Sound Of Music,” “Fiddler On The Roof,” “Singin” In The Rain,” “My Fair Lady,” “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” are some of the musicals I've seen over the course of my short life on earth. So why don’t I want to see “Les Miserables,” simply because it’s based on a musical? Even when it’s got several excellent actors in the crucial roles? There is simply way too much material in the novel (which runs to over 1,000 pages in the unabridged version published by Signet Classics, the abridged version published by Barnes and Noble Classics is just under 1,000 pages; both are worth reading, though you may want to stick with the abridged version, which has been cut appropriately, in my opinion) to make a musical, let alone a successful one, out of it.
To do the novel justice, the musical would have to be over 15 hours long. Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, on the other hand, lent itself well to being a musical and the stage show is excellent, and I dare say, even better than the novel by Gaston Leroux. That, however, should not be taken as a licence to skip reading the book and simply view the stage production by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber or the spectacular 2004 movie starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson and Miranda Richardson. I’ve heard several of the songs from the musical Les Mis on YouTube to make my own judgement on the music. The “famous” song I Dreamed A Dream isn’t half-bad, though. On My Own isn’t that good of a song. Do You Hear The People Sing is passable. I just try to forget that the songs are from a musical which is based on one of the greatest novels ever written.
I’ll view the movie for free even more so now after reading the content on this site. I think that, had the musical been given another title and different characters (ie. NOT based on a classic novel), the songs would be much better. So, I will view the movie, but for free via XFinity On Demand, as I will not have to pay for it.
—D, age 26 (USA)
Negative— THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, HONEST REVIEWERS!! I know the story well but also know Hollywood and the enemy!! I prayed and came here and for honest reviews based on biblical standards. No watering down, no on the fence, it’s not that bad, Satan seeping in comments… Thank you. No matter how popular, classical, great on Broadway… I will not be going to this movie!!!
—Me, age 22 (USA)
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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