Over the Christmas "break" (since I took some time off) I saw Les MisÚrables with a friend. I'd never seen the play or read the book, and from everything I heard about it, I didn't expect to really like it. First off, I tend to enjoy lighter movies, and this one obviously wasn't light. I've been thinking about this film a lot lately, especially because the Academy Awards are on tomorrow night. (The film is nominated for eight awards.)
What can I say? I loved it. Loved. It. Almost from the start, I cried. Not just a few sniffles, either, but a gut-wrenching cry that went deep to my soul. I think this is the power behind the film, the ability to reach deep inside us and ignite our spirit. After all, it's about whether or not people can change. How one man can have all the odds against him and every reason to hate the world, and yet demonstrate his ability to overcome sparked by the kindness of a stranger.
Ultimately the story asks the question: can people change?
This is a topic that gets asked about a lot, especially with our friends. Should we want a friend to change?
Ultimately, I think people can change no matter what their circumstances. Your past doesn't define you. At the same time, I think it's unrealistic to expect change in someone. The only one you can change is yourself.
One concept I took from Les Miswas that sometimes we change our lives for the better and others don't understand. Javert (Russell Crowe's character) for example, can't mentally deal with the changed man that Jean Valjean has become.
I checked around About for thoughts on this film, and found that:
- Our Hollywood Movie Guide gave the film four out of five stars
- Likewise with our Kids' Movie and TV Guide
- Our Independent Film Guild gave it two stars
And for me? If I had to rate it, it would be five stars all the way.