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The Mundane Morality of Les MisÚrables [No Man Is Above the Law of Morality]
Acton Institute ^ | 1/9/13 | Jordan Ballor

Posted on 01/12/2013 6:10:25 PM PST by SoFloFreeper

The release of the film Les Misérables is a remarkable achievement, not only for its ambitious cinematic scope but also for its inspired cast and stunning dramatic and musical performances. A key driver of the ongoing popularity of the musical play over the better part of the last three decades is the source material’s deep moral and spiritual seriousness. The narrative focuses in large part on the transformation of Jean Valjean, who after nineteen years of hard labor as a violent criminal is released on parole to see “what this new world” might bring. The dynamics of sin and salvation, despair and hope, rigid legalism and the grace of the gospel, resonate with audiences, who are all able to find in this story something of themselves and their own experiences. This narrative is an exercise of the moral imagination at its finest.

(Excerpt) Read more at acton.org ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: grace; law; lesmiserables; morality; mundane; sin
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A superior article from a superior web site about a superior film.

No "snuff" entertainment from the likes of Quentin Tarantino for me...

I encourage you all who haven't learned the story of Victor Hugo to do so....it is a beautiful story of redemption and God's grace, acted out in human lives.

I suppose the faith of most of the actors in this film isn't in Christ...but He is able to use their talents to tell a story about God's love anyway!!

1 posted on 01/12/2013 6:10:30 PM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper
Yeah. All that. Plus you get to see Samantha Barks:


2 posted on 01/12/2013 6:18:58 PM PST by mbarker12474 (If thine enemy offend thee, give his childe a drum.)
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To: mbarker12474

another amoral Hollyweird product


3 posted on 01/12/2013 6:21:29 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: SoFloFreeper

Ka-Ching: Selling 'Les Miz' to Christian Audiences Pays Off

The film version of the beloved musical "Les Misérables" boasts plenty of box office-friendly attributes.

Name recognition is through the roof, the film's cast features some of today's most charismatic actors and the production is unlike any other film currently playing in theaters.

The minds behind the film's marketing efforts took one extra measure to ensure its success, and its paying off handsomely.

The story in "Les Misérables" is heavy with Christian themes of grace, mercy and redemption. The line everyone seems to remember is "to love another person is to see the face of God.”

NBC Universal looked to capitalize on those components and promoted the film to pastors, Christian radio hosts and influence-makers in the Christian community.


4 posted on 01/12/2013 6:22:35 PM PST by Bratch
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To: SoFloFreeper; Jeff Head

The pimping of the daughter at the INN is an awesome example of libertine morality


5 posted on 01/12/2013 6:22:51 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

The banality of evil.


6 posted on 01/12/2013 6:32:20 PM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: GeronL

The banality of evil.


7 posted on 01/12/2013 6:32:38 PM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: GeronL

I’m not sure I understand your post. Are you claiming this film is amoral, or that it depicts amorality and evil for what they are?

My impression, having actually seen both the play and the film, suggests that it has amoral elements. These elements are always depicted as amoral. Most importantly, the character Jean Valjean is a surprisingly (I would say heroically) moral person.

It depicts the triumph of good over evil, the importance of true love, and making a sacrifice for the good.

If that is amoral, than what is your definition of morality?
I found it to be one of those rare gems: a diamond in the rough from Hollyweird.


8 posted on 01/12/2013 6:44:24 PM PST by Bayard
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To: Bayard

wow, so a kiddie porn snuff film where the story has a moral message at the end would be a great thing?


9 posted on 01/12/2013 6:47:43 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

There is no kiddie porn in the film. What are you talking about???


10 posted on 01/12/2013 6:49:06 PM PST by Bayard
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To: Bayard

There are many things in “Les Mis” that are immoral, I don’t trust Hollyweird not to exploit them for prurient reasons. Plus this book was originally a big recruitment device for the communists, so I am suspect doubly.


11 posted on 01/12/2013 7:00:25 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: SoFloFreeper

I watched Les Miserables and saw people killing people with muskets, pistols and cannon.

I left LM and watched the last 45 minutes of Django and saw people killed with pistols, dogs, rifles, shotguns, fists nd dynamite.

In Les Miserables the killing certainly was not the center theme. In Django the killing was basic Tarantino does a cartoon with real people as characters. It was silly ans stupid and embarrassing if you gave it any thought.

Les Miserables was art. Django was fart. One was Opera and the other rap. One was intellectual and the other mentally challenged. But I have no problem that either film was made because I did not have to watch either of them if I did not want to. Note that I paid for the first movie and not for the second and after seeing them both that made sense to me.


12 posted on 01/12/2013 7:17:28 PM PST by isthisnickcool (Sharia? No thanks!)
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To: GeronL

I take it you have not actually seen the film and have therefore made a judgment on hearsay.

The immoral elements you describe are necessary for the story itself. You cannot have a man imprisoned for 20 years without him having first stole a loaf of bread. You cannot have a story of repentance if there was nothing to repent from. Stealing something is immoral, except under certain extreme cases.

The horrible things other characters are forced to go through are also part of that same story of redemption.

Also, communists twist the wrong meaning out of many stories in order to make them support their position.

Would you refuse to believe the words of Christ when he says “blessed are the poor,” because some group misinterpreted what he says to suggest that they should overthrow the bourgeoisie? Some Communists have even attempted to use even the Gospel to support their cause.

Its wrong to condemn a work because you don’t know what is in it, and think you know without having checked. The film itself is morally OK.


13 posted on 01/12/2013 7:18:33 PM PST by Bayard
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To: Bayard

Les Mis justifies the Revolution, but we should remember that the French Revolution, for all its horrible atrocities, was fully justified.

The American Revolution was made because the colonists thought, in all likelihood not entirely accurately, that the British government intended to reduce them to the level of powerlessness and subjugation the lower classes in France were already at.

So if revolution was justified to prevent such tyranny, how much more to overthrow it?


14 posted on 01/12/2013 7:28:03 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Bayard
I do not trust Hollyweird. It's that simple.

You cannot have a man imprisoned for 20 years without him having first stole a loaf of bread

lol, and if there is a 20-minute graphic scene of the thief raping the bakers wife and daughter, does that not change anything?

You cannot have a story of repentance if there was nothing to repent from.

So, then the 2-hour graphic child rape scene would be justified by a repetence at the end?

Stealing is always immoral. Having exceptions is why the commies used this story for recruiting.

15 posted on 01/12/2013 7:28:34 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Sherman Logan

Sorry, I should have said “a” French Revolution was fully justified.

The one that actually happened, not so much.


16 posted on 01/12/2013 7:29:04 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Bayard
I take it you have not actually seen the film committed sodomy with another man and have therefore made a judgment on hearsay

right, who am I to judge without trying it myself?

lolz. I will never ever ever watch this film even if I live for 50 more years.

17 posted on 01/12/2013 7:31:35 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Sherman Logan
in all likelihood not entirely accurately

mrcantilism, the stamp act and the intolerable acts were justification enough.

18 posted on 01/12/2013 7:34:01 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Bratch

Uh, yes....because it IS a Christian story. ;)


19 posted on 01/12/2013 7:43:04 PM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: GeronL

I was speaking of their intentions. Just finished a rather lengthy book on the subject. The colonists worked backward from what the British government did to what their intentions were.

The colonists apparently weren’t fully aware that incompetence often explains actions that are otherwise assigned to malice. And it is abundantly clear that the British pols of the time were thoroughly incompetent.

Today we have the advantage of access to the British government records of the time, which the colonists didn’t have, and its quite obvious they had no intention of “enslaving” the colonists. Had the colonists not rebelled, we would more likely have wound up with a Canadian or Australian type of system than a tyranny.

While I’m a fan of the Founding, Canada or Australia are a lot better than just about any of the alternatives.


20 posted on 01/12/2013 7:45:23 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: GeronL

I was in the theater there was no 20 minute rape scene. You’re making things up now.

Looking at your comments, you are morally in error. First, you’ve misrepresented the film. Anyone who has seen it would agree with me.

Second, you misrepresented my comments. I have not claimed that a child rape scene is justified. Please, read my comments without reading into them what you want them to say.

Third, you are in error on stealing. Hypothetically, stealing a loaf of bread to stave off the threat of death can be stealing under civil law, but not immoral under moral law. Context is very important in these cases.

Speaking hypothetically. If I was alone surviving on a deserted Island and I had a few packages that were marked U.S Mail, but they also might have food in them. Opening them would be theft and yet not wrong, because I needed food. That is called an extreme case.


21 posted on 01/12/2013 7:46:57 PM PST by Bayard
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To: Sherman Logan

LM does not seem to justify the French Revolution. The story takes place after the revolution and shows the population is NOT better off afterwards.

The FR, I am sure you realize, was a very amoral event, unlike ours.


22 posted on 01/12/2013 7:49:08 PM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: GeronL
I'm confused. There is no child rape in Les Mis. There is the mother who descends into prostitution after losing her job.

What am I missing from your point?

-PJ

23 posted on 01/12/2013 7:49:26 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: Bayard
I was in the theater there was no 20 minute rape scene

I did not say there was. I using a hypothetical. If all that matters if the "repetence" at the end to make it a moral film, then that was my example.

24 posted on 01/12/2013 7:50:29 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Sherman Logan

If you actually took a look at the film you would notice that it takes place after the French revolution.

I’m not the one to paint broad historical generalizations. Jean Valjean was a successful business man in the film. He was not a leader of a revolutionist party, and specifically avoided the french revolutionists because they were doomed.


25 posted on 01/12/2013 7:51:01 PM PST by Bayard
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To: GeronL
If the book was indeed used as a recruiting tool by the Communists, they must've read the abridged edition. In the full version, Hugo heaps scorn on the "proto-Communists" who led the June Rebellion.

I've seen several stage productions of this play, and the ending always has a scene where the dead revolutionaries once again stand alongside their surviving friends. I think it possible that for those who wish to interpret it thus, that scene may imply that eventually "the cause" will succeed - even though it failed in this instance.

And that failure is certainly evident. The cost of the revolutionaries' failed struggle is one of the clearest messages in the story, second only to the story of religious redemption (apparently another part that the Commies skimmed over). The minister’s kind act changes Valjean’s life forever. It causes a domino effect which along the way, includes a focus on productivity, middle-class respectability and charity.

I've read the original book, over 1,000 pages worth. IMHO, one would have to be a Communist in order to read anything there as some sort of positive affirmation of that ideology. The revolution's leaders needed the people of Paris to rouse themselves and join the fight, and it didn't happen. No glorious "workers' paradise" for them. C'est la Vie.

26 posted on 01/12/2013 7:51:59 PM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: Political Junkie Too

I was arguing whether or not REPETENCE of the main character makes it a “moral film”


27 posted on 01/12/2013 7:53:15 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: mbarker12474
Plus you get to see Samantha Barks

The one scene that disappointed me was in the end.

In the stage show, when Valjean dies he's met by the redeemed Fantine and Eponine. In the movie, only Fantine is there. The final duet of "Come To Me" with Fantine and Eponine as they lead Valjean to heaven is sweet.

I can only assume that Anne Hathaway didn't want to share the final scene with Samantha Barks.

-PJ

28 posted on 01/12/2013 7:54:21 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: GeronL

Your making mental midget arguments here.

The best one is a begging the question argument you posted there. Movies and sodomy are different things, so to are airplanes and Saturdays.

A movie may depict sodomy, an airplane may fly on Saturday, but that changes nothing about what is truthfully depicted in the movie in question.

You don’t know whats in it. You have assumed and judged a film. You sound like Inspector Javart.


29 posted on 01/12/2013 7:55:32 PM PST by Bayard
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To: GeronL
I was arguing whether or not REPETENCE of the main character makes it a “moral film”

You don't know the context, nor the story, so you cannot argue a case about this particular film. Go and check up on it before making judgments.

30 posted on 01/12/2013 7:57:59 PM PST by Bayard
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To: Bayard

My example was not this particular film, obviously.


31 posted on 01/12/2013 7:59:40 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: Bayard

I was talking about what makes this a “moral film” and using generalities as examples. I do not trust Hollyweird, I do JUDGE them and they are ALL guilty.


32 posted on 01/12/2013 8:01:40 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL
My example was not this particular film, obviously.

Then it isn't relevant to what I have written. It is not relevant to the movie.

33 posted on 01/12/2013 8:01:54 PM PST by Bayard
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To: GeronL

Sorry to see that. You’re denying yourself a wonderful tale of redemption and grace.

Perhaps you can check out an older version for free at the library....several versions exist. I recently saw one from 1952 and found it to be just as true to the ideals Victor Hugo seemed to embrace in the original story.

A 1998 version starring Liam Neeson was also made....

If you search imdb.com you’ll find several versions over the years. Give it a shot, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

The first time I saw it, I went to the stage musical and my feet were DRAGGING. But the deeply moving script and story have stayed with me. Well worth the time, made me want to be a better person.


34 posted on 01/12/2013 8:05:02 PM PST by SoFloFreeper
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: SoFloFreeper

I have less than zero interest in this film. I do not like musicals or opera at all.


36 posted on 01/12/2013 8:07:05 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: SoFloFreeper; All

By the way, with all the back and forth about the film...did ANYONE read the Acton Institute article?

Acton IS a Christian organization that embraces capitalism...the thinking thereof might be worth considering. :)


38 posted on 01/12/2013 8:15:35 PM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: GeronL
I was arguing whether or not REPETENCE of the main character makes it a “moral film”.

I guess that depends on what defines a "moral film."

I suppose you could have a film that depicts a wholly moral person from birth to death. Would that be Forrest Gump? Chance the Gardner?

I suppose you could have a film that depicts morality by contrasting it with immorality by showing the conversion from one to the other. That is Les Mis.

Or you could have a "moral of the story" film that shows a totally immoral person who gets what he deserves in the end. Jimmy Cagney in The Public Enemy?

-PJ

39 posted on 01/12/2013 8:17:02 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: GeronL

Those two films I mentioned are not musicals or operas. They are adaptations of the novel.


40 posted on 01/12/2013 8:19:09 PM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: Political Junkie Too

If Debbie had joined a convent after doing Dallas would that have made the film any more family friendly?


41 posted on 01/12/2013 8:19:49 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL
Why don't you stick to the topic of Les Mis? Why are you talking about pornography?

You asked about what makes a film "moral?" You injected child rape into Les Mis, and are now injecting actual porn in the the discussion.

You didn't just go to the extreme, you went straight to the absurd.

I'm prepared to discuss all the moral issues of Les Mis with you, but I don't have the expertise to look for morality in pornography, as you apparently do.

-PJ

42 posted on 01/12/2013 8:27:19 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: GeronL

Well too bad for you. You will miss something uplifting, morally inspiring and the best piece of Musical Art in the past century. But I suspect your limited comprehension in the discernment area would put you at quite a disadvantage where serious themes are presented in a serious way.


43 posted on 01/12/2013 8:39:21 PM PST by Bainbridge
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To: GeronL

Well too bad for you. You will miss something uplifting, morally inspiring and the best piece of Musical Art in the past century. But I suspect your limited comprehension in the discernment area would put you at quite a disadvantage where serious themes are presented in a serious way.


44 posted on 01/12/2013 8:39:31 PM PST by Bainbridge
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To: Bayard
Please allow me to attach myself to your remarks. The doltishness of the aforementioned comments is frankly embarrassing.
45 posted on 01/12/2013 8:43:42 PM PST by Bainbridge
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To: SoFloFreeper

I have returned home tonight after having experienced this film for the second time. I was surprised I cried more the second time. Huge theater and every seat was taken. Truly one of the most remarkable stories and movies ever made. I will read your article tomorrow.


46 posted on 01/12/2013 8:45:09 PM PST by HokieMom (Pacepa : Can the U.S. afford a president who can't recognize anti-Americanism?)
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To: Political Junkie Too

I haven’t been to see it because I have an intense dislike for the uber liberal Anne Hathaway. I saw the play on Broadway with the original cast and it’s remained my all time favorite. I don’t see how anything can top that.


47 posted on 01/12/2013 9:00:49 PM PST by dandiegirl
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To: dandiegirl
Anne Hathaway is getting rave reviews for her performance. Fortunately, Fantine is offed in the first third of the story.

That's why Hathaway was only nominated for Supporting Actress.

I was surprised at the casting of Russell Crowe. I always thought of him as a one-note actor. I guess he's a half-note singer.

-PJ

48 posted on 01/12/2013 9:09:33 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: SoFloFreeper
By the way, with all the back and forth about the film...did ANYONE read the Acton Institute article?

Why read a boring old article about "the mundane obligations of the moral order" when we can just keep talking about various sordid things?

(I had originally used a more specific wording than "various sordid things" but felt dirty even typing it. Maybe I'll just be specific about what just struck me: had I gone to see the movie tonight and as a result had missed this thread, I don't know how even the idea of those sordid things would've entered my mind tonight.)

For that matter, if there are more future posts about the original article than about the detour, will there have been repentance at the end of this thread?

49 posted on 01/12/2013 9:38:51 PM PST by Lonely Bull
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To: Sherman Logan

Not to be pedantic, but Les Mis takes place about 40 years AFTER the French Revolution and has more to do with the Socialist uprisings of the mid 19th century than the anarchist French Revolution of the 1790’s.


50 posted on 01/12/2013 10:13:03 PM PST by BelegStrongbow (St. Joseph, patron of fathers, pray for us!)
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