A Review of Les Miserables

Ebcosette

I have seen two movie versions of Les Miserables.  One with Liam Neeson and the other with Hugh Jackman.  Both versions provide a moving story based on the book, which I have yet to read. The most recent one, a musical, I have to admit annoyed me at times with the constant singing instead of some normal dialogue.  However, what I enjoyed immensely about the musical, more than the movie, is the ending.

In this day and age people vilify anything associated with God and Faith.  I am a man of faith.  I am just not a man of religious institutions. My relationship with my maker is a direct and private one.  I want my daily walk and talk to be the testimony of my faith.  To do all that I can while living to help those around me and to reach for self perfection, of which, I’ll never obtain.  I recently watched and was equally moved with Life of Pi.  I hope more stories with spiritual themes are made.  These are the ones I enjoy immensely.

I took this snippet from Wikipedia, which explains Hugo’s structure of the story.

The book which the reader has before him at this moment is, from one end to the other, in its entirety and details … a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.

One of the most powerful statements in the lyrics to the songs was contained in the finale.

To love another person is to see the face of god.

I was deeply moved with the ending scene of Valjean passing on to be with the dead and just, and to stand united as one.  In the movie with Liam Neeson, Cosette merely fled to London, and Valjean walked away.  I assume because those involved with that version would rather leave out the reference to redemption and salvation.  Because of that exclusion, I prefer the musical version.  Anne Hathaway’s singing of I dreamed a dream as the character Fantine is obviously a tear-jerker. Hugh Jackman gave a much more emotional touch to Valjean’s character, than did Liam Neeson.  I was also touched by the character of  Éponine, excluded from the Neeson version. I will at some point in the very near future find time to read the book and catch all that Hugo embedded into the story.  I still struggle understanding Javert, but I prefer Geoffrey Rush’s acting over Russell Crowe’s.

In my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, the story is primarily concerned with evil, redemption and resurrection. Although completely fictional, set in an epic high fantasy, the story confronts the basic themes of the human struggle. There is no reference to any organized religion or Jesus Christ.  In my story, Glyneth, the mother of Terrian and Telluria, had been a prostitute and was judged harshly by her son Terrian.  In the final battle, Glyneth stands with her son and daughter, knowing death is upon them all, she makes the following statement to him and he discovers his mother had not given his sister over to prostitution,

“I know you do not understand that. Sometimes mothers have to do the unspeakable for their children. I wish I had other choices. Please accept me now, for I offer my body a second time with the hope that through some wonder you both can live.”

She kissed her son and turned to the direction the enemy would appear. Deep inside Terrian finally understood the sacrifice of dignity his mother had made for him and his sister. He forgave her and begged the Lord to forgive her as well.

Here, a mother is willing to sacrifice not only once, but twice, for she so loved her children more than herself. Here, the meaning of loving another allows us to see the face of God rings powerful. There is also another section where a mother sacrifices in a different and even more heart-wrenching manner. How my story ends should be equally as touching for a  reader. Many of the classic stories in history have a basic theme of justice, sacrifice and redemption. We may not understand the ways of our maker, but we learn that it is only our maker who knows the soul and can grant redemption.

Les Miserables will forever be etched into my mind as one the greatest stories of history past, present and future.  If you enjoyed Les Miserables, give my trilogy a try and stay loyal to the very end.  Do not prejudge it, it may pleasantly surprise you.

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