Les Misérables – an opinion
before reading this post….spoiler alert!
This is just an opinion after I watched this reaaaaaally great movie, so don’t be offended,,,hmmm….rather than an opinion this might be more suitable called as character review…I’m not sure whatever let’s just start!
I see this film (story) is about two men who despite all their belief, idealism, social status experienced the same turning point. They both got mercy. They were both given a second chance, an opportunity to repent.
Jean Valjean, a former slave, a criminal imprisoned stealing a loaf of bread for his dying sister’s son, labeled by badge of shame as a dangerous man . A man who was angry to this world, who touched the lowest point of humanity but saved by the mercy of a bishop after stealing his silverware.
Bishop: Monsieur, release him. This man has spoken true. I commend you for your duty, now God’s blessing go with you.
Bishop: But remember this, my brother. See in this some higher plan. You must use this precious silver to become an honest man. By the witness of the martyrs, by the passion and the blood, God has brought you out of darkness. I have bought your soul for God.
The man who thought he was soulless, got his soul touched being called “my brother”, questioned his own identity “who am I?”, his existence, and repent (well…the film never really show this literally, but I believe he did though the scene at the chapel). Then, he lived as a free man, a man who were given grace. Living a life of loving others. Being a respectful,responsible man, referring to Javert’s words, a man of mercy, and a great father for Cosette, a girl who was not even his real daughter. Yet, he’s still questioning his true identity,
“Who am I? Can I conceal myself for evermore? Pretend I’m not the man I was before?”
Tasted and amazed by the grace he received.
“Suddenly the world seems a different place, somehow full of grace and delight. How was I to know that so much hope was held inside me?”
Once again after all the good deeds he did never forget his nature as a sinful man who was once given grace, asking the same question.
“Before lived a man whose name was Jean Valjean. Stole some bread to save the son of his sister. For nineteen winters served their time. With sweat washed his crime. Years ago broke his freedom parole and lived a life apart. How could he tell Cosette and break her heart? Cosette is why so this must be addressed. If he is caught, she is dishonored. It’s time to travel, and from that day he has to go. Who am I?”
Javert, an idealist inspector, lives a prideful life, with his own version of truth, the law. “He knows his way in the dark. Mine is the way of the Lord and those who follow the path of the righteous.” A righteous man who lived under the law.
Jean Valjean: I stole a loaf of bread. My sisters child was close to death, and we were starving…
Javert: And you will starve again unless you learn the meaning of the law!
Jean Valjean: I’ve learnt the meaning of those nineteen years; a slave of the law.
Javert: Five years for what you did. The rest because you tried to run, yes 24601…
Jean Valjean: My name is Jean Valjean!
Javert: And I’m Javert! Do not forget my name. Do not forget me, 24601.
The man who did not know forgiveness and second chance because he had never been forgiven and given a second chance. A man who did knows no repentance because he had never understand the meaning of mercy. A man who exalts the righteousness of the law without love. A man who was from the gutter too yet forget who he was and belittle others.
“Men like me can never change. Men like you can never change. No, 24601. My duty is to the law . You have no rights.”
A man who despite told “You have done your duty, nothing more” and given a mercy rejected it and stubbornly refuse to leave his idealism. A man who may be a really great man if only he’d chosen to repent. Died, never be redeemed.
“How can I now allow this man to hold dominion over me? This desperate man that I have hunted he gave me my life. He gave me freedom. I should have perished by his hand. It was his right. It was my right to die as well, instead I live, but live in hell.”
Fantine, a mother who loved his daughter so much, ready to sacrifice any cost for her daughter, a woman who once did adultery yet not learning from it and tempted by the darkness of easy money then died as an ugly prostitute.
Cosette…Marius…Éponine…I do not really attract with these three fellows love story. For me their tangled love story is only another way to show how good Jean Valjean is and how much he loved Cossete. Since I do not really believe what so called ‘love at the first sight’, I found the way Marius loved Cosette is a bit unrealistic and silly. I believe the kind of love between man and woman is not supposed to blind us from the truth and common sense like Marius said “And what was right seems wrong and what was bad looks good.” Fine…call me bitter and not romantic but pardon me that in my opinion love is needed to be more than romantic things. Look at Éponine, I think she performed more about love, sacrificial love. And a man should not lost his way just only because of love. I found no romance toward these words
Marius: Do I care if I should die now she goes across the sea? Life without Cosette means nothing at all… Please don’t weep, Cosette, should Marius fall. Will you weep, Cosette, for me?
At last I super love the last sentence of Jean Valjean
To love another person is to see the face of God.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV)
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
(Romans 13:8 ESV)