When I was in high school, I spent the better part of a year plowing through the unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. I’d pick it up and put it down and read three books between every chapter, but I read every word.
When I was through, I was devastated. It was one of the most beautiful, redemptive stories I have ever read. It was worth wading through the cryptic jabs at long-dead French politicians for that story.
There’s a part of me that is very, very attached to the Victor Hugo version of Les Misérables. There is a part of me that never wanted to see the musical on stage or on film.
But now I’ve seen it. And now, there’s a bigger part of me that thinks everyone should see it
It’s not perfect, at least not for a read-it-unabridged-or-go-home kind of girl like me. But it is a powerful story worth telling (or, singing, as the case may be), even if some parts must be considered for their contribution to stage rather than their adherence to page.
It is a powerful enough story that most of those little things don’t matter at all. Are there some unnecessary crude parts I wish weren’t there? Yes. Should Russell Crowe consider singing in another musical ever again? No.
But then there is Anne Hathaway, whose relatively untrained voice makes her character even more poignant. There is Hugh Jackman, who transforms Jean Valjean over and over again as the character develops and leaves me awed.
And there is that story, that haunting story of redemption that even a singing Russell Crowe can’t diminish. It is the story that compels me to say everyone should watch this film.
That story comes straight out of my beloved book.
Few can craft a story like Victor Hugo. He tells it a little longer than most people but that’s probably because he didn’t have the benefit of Twitter training to help him keep things concise. But that story has transformed the course of literature and helped to shape history. Even if you don’t have time to read the book, you should familiarize yourself with a story that has remained captivating for 150 years.
If you do, you will find it is a story worth hearing. It is a story worth watching. It is a story worth engaging in a very deep and personal way because it is the most powerful story of all; it is the story of redemption.
There’s a whole bunch of sin and a whole lot about the miserable struggle, but then, doesn’t that make the redemption more beautiful? Doesn’t that make the story more like…mine. And yours? Because my life of redemption isn’t always Sunday-best. It’s Monday-morning. It’s Jean Valjean struggling to turn himself in when a perfectly good scapegoat has been caught. It’s making idols out of good things like beloved little girls, fighting for and against justice, wishing you could do more, finding you often do less, and wondering, at times, if you can bear up under grace.
It is my story. It is your story.
A story like that can be as powerful as a sword or as dull as yesterday’s news. It’s all in what you do with it.
That is why I hope all Christians watch this film. But not just watch it–think about it. Talk about it. Discuss it. It can be a force in the hands of real Christians who know the power of redemption and who have real-life stories to back up the Hollywood theatrics. You can even download a free discussion guide put together by Allied Faith and Family to help you get started. In fact, if you e-mail them, they will even send you hard copies to use at church or in home study groups.
But first, you have to watch the film, and I would love nothing more than to get you a copy for free. All you have to do is enter below. You have until Wednesday, March 27th to rack up all kind of Rafflecopter points. You can enter once, or you can come back every day to share the giveaway and increase your chances of winning.
But that’s not all! My friend Gretchen, who saves my bacon when the blogging goes bad, is giving away a copy on her site. Hop over there, tell her thank you for keeping Kristen’s blog afloat, and enter to win a copy of this hot new release!