Les Misérables Movie Review by Pastor Joe Morecraft

Uploaded by chalcedonchurch on 19.01.2013

The book has a Christian message. Now bear in mind
Victor Hugo was a Roman Catholic so it's gonna
have a sort of slant like that but
it's the story of
oppression, poverty
tyranny in France
And the point of the book is how do you deal with it, how do you solve
oppression, poverty and tyranny
and then in the book there are three ways offered
one is revolution
the barricades
everybody gets killed
revolution gets nowhere
the second is
merciless imposition
of tradition and order
Javert commits suicide
and the third way that works is Jean Valjean who gets redeemed, who gets
changes culture in several cities
becomes hard-working himself, buys a lot of businesses becomes
very very rich
gives jobs to a lot of people lifts people out of poverty
and is generous in what he does.
so the message is implicitly Christian
Victor Hugo's daddy was an atheistic general
in Napoleon's army
his mother was a devout Roman Catholic royalist
who was for the monarchy
the daddy left and so he was raised by his
devout Roman Catholic mother and he never did escape
the Christianity of his mother
though he did have an affair for fifty years... the longest-running affair in the history
of the world
and of course who didn't in France, that's not to excuse anybody but that
was typically French.

but he never fully escaped his mother's
Christianity though it was never perfect in either practice or theory
Now what's interesting is that the poor people loved Victor Hugo
and when
the first day of publication
of Les Mis, and I think
1861 or 1863 or something
poor people stood in line for hours
and pooled their money so that several families could buy one
and they'd get in fights over it
and you can see why from the book or the movie or the play
why the poor people loved it, because he took up their cause. But what's funny is
Victor Hugo was a multi-millionaire
in no way shape or form can he be identified with
poverty-stricken people, but the thing that I love about Victor Hugo
that I was surprised at, because I'm not a great novel reader
I don't read novels. Usually
if there's a novel I have to read I listen to it on audio
because I don't want to have to read books
to get your point. Just tell me your point and I won't have to read the book!

and Les Mis is thirteen hundred pages long as you know
but I've read very few books like this of men who know the heart like
Victor Hugo
I mean I just sat there in amazement...
For instance, one
part, you remember the bishop, the old bishop
as an old man becomes blind
and he spends page after page talking about the interdependency of this
woman that took care of him and the old blind guy, how do you know that unless you're blind, and Victor Hugo wasn't blind!

I would love to make
ministerial students read Victor Hugo. I may!
he knew how
to search the heart.
I mean it was just amazing!
and also
the sensual parts that you saw in the musical and the movie are not in Victor Hugo
as you know
he satisfied himself with descriptions of various things but
he didn't have the sensuality for entertainment that you find
in the musical or in the play
now what was great about the movie, I thought
for those of you who read the book
is they put just little glances in the movie that was not in in the
to make people happy that read the book. I mean just little teeny
that we could talk about some time
just to let you know
we know what's in the book
and then in the
musical and the movie at the beginning
Jean Valjean has just been converted
the priest has just bought bought him for God
and you know he's walking away tearing up his
prisoner passport
What I loved about the movie was the close-up of the faces you know on a
play or a musical you can't see people's faces but
the close-up of Jean Valjean, and of
Fantine, etc... was just overwhelming, the expressions on their faces but
so he gets converted right the very beginning
of the movie and the play and he
sings a song
begins his new life
and toward the end
when Javert
commits suicide he sings the same tune
and uses some of the same words
void, particularly
both of them use words like void and darkness but here's the difference
Javert and
Jean Valjean.
it's the difference between Peter and Judas
both of those men, Javert and Jean Valjean were deeply convicted over
their guilt
in a Christian's life like Jean Valjean
it drove him to Christ
like Peter
he got out of the boat and swam to Jesus
in a non-Christian your sense of guilt drives you away from Christ
like Javert and Judas
So I thought there was a lot of great moments in it in terms of
being true to the Christian theme. Even Victor Hugo said this book is a
religious book, he told himself. If you read a lot of literary critics about
Victor Hugo... you know
you can't really see in history or literature what you don't believe
some of these guys
you'd think Victor Hugo was a humanist. One of them particulary,
a literary critic criticized
Victor Hugo
for using the literary device
of coincidence
in his books, you know a lot of coincidental things happened, except there weren't
In fact
Victor Hugo used over and over and over and over the word providence himself!
So it wasn't just a literary device,
he really sought to be Christian, I think,
in telling his tale
though he was not perfectly so.
In the movie,
just like in the musical, they glamorized
the immorality of the prostitutes and of the
wife of the master of the house, etc.
more than they should have and those are the times that people
should look down or not look at all,
but God's common grace, you know that God has common grace
and special grace, and I talked about this in Texas last week,
God's special grace is His saving grace, that when God shows you special grace He saves you, forever.
God's common grace, or God's common unmerited favor is
the mercy and generosity
with which He deals with everybody,
even people He never intends to save.
but like I said this morning God's merciful to everybody in this life as
long as that...
you know Jesus said God causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall
on the just and the unjust alike
and the only reason totally depraved sinners
can ever produce anything good, true, or beautiful is because of the common grace of
God. You have to ask yourself why
these pagans who write books sometimes say some right things in books,
why some of these pagans can
paint beautiful paintings and sculptures, write wonderful music.
Well, it's because God overrides their depravity
and enables them to do what they never could do naturally,
and so that's why... I had some Christian friends that wouldn't go to see it because of those parts

that's why you
can shut your eyes and be disgusted
at some things and admire the whole production
because the whole production is a gift of God's common grace
that the people that wrote it, particularly the ones that did the play, etc. and
highlighted and emphasized,
and glamorized the sensuality,
they couldn't have done anything without the grace of God.
And yet they're going to be held accountable someday
for abusing the grace of God
and for putting all those various sensual things in.
If somebody were to ask me
if I recommended Les Mis, I of course would not just give a blanket yes,
but I would say that it was a great production
and that
I cried both times.
I thought the ending was great,
bear in mind it's Roman Catholic symbolism,
but nevertheless you realize what he's trying to present is Christianity.