Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why Should Everyone Should See Les Miserables (whether you like musical theater or not)?

Because it is about METANOIA, in the most complete sense of the word.

I had mixed feelings when I heard about the film production of Les Miserables last fall. I was concerned that a film version would turn this magnificent musical into a chopped up mess. I thought movie-musicals were a lost art. I didn't think it could be pulled off.

I waited until last Sunday to see it, not by choice. I came down with that nasty influenza that swept the nation, and I was down for about a month (count your blessings if if you avoided it). As much as I was curious, though, and as much buzz that the film has generated over the last month, I completely avoided anything by way of commentary about it, because I wanted to formulate my own thoughts.

I am so glad I did. It's the best movie-musical I have ever seen.

More importantly, though, is the story itself. In a merciless world, one merciless man is shown mercy, and that one act of mercy changes him. From the moment he realizes what has been shown him, he lives a deliberately good life, even when it meant certain hardship, loss, or the possibility of death. This is the heart of Metanoia--to make the decision to live better, to try harder, to be more Christlike today than you were yesterday, and to leave yourself behind.

If you're not into musicals, this will be a tough one for you. It's nearly an opera, as much of the dialog is sung rather than spoken. Try to get past it, though, and see this film, if for no other reason than this:

"So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century--the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of women through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light--are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world;--in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books [and their adaptations for stage and screen*] of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use."

Preface, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
*my addition.

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