Click here for Part 1.
Okay, okay. So we’re already know that Les Mis has religious messages and pretty blunt moral meaning up its wazoo. In other words, there’s a lot of this going on
and more of this
Yup. It’s all nice and stuff. Rising out of difficult circumstances through faith and love. Valuing the importance of justice and forgiveness. The difference between man’s law and God’s law.
But I don’t think I’m telling you anything new. In fact, I’ve always been bothered by how BORING Valjean becomes after he meets the bishop. He suddenly switches from a life of resentment and frustration to one of faith and love. Which, again, is all nice and stuff. But really, dude? All your problems just end within the first 20 minutes of the show and now you’re all holy and whatnot? Part of me wished that Valjean still held some of that resentment and anger, particularly in his post-revolutionary moment when all’s gone to hell and back. I mean, who really cares about some rich recluse living with a pretty girl while there’s a people’s revolution happening?!
The film version, I believe, recognizes this dilemma. I argue that in the film, Valjean’s journey to becoming a whole and good person does NOT end at his encounter with the bishop. In fact, the film shows that one CANNOT be a good person without facing the social crises that surround you. Religion, faith, and love, therefore, are intrinsically tied to social justice.