Just Call Me Ebert (or Roepert)

April 8, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Inspirational, Movies | 12 Comments

The way it has been going the past few days it seems that I may have a career brewing in movie reviews.

Wrong. I am just catching up on some much needed down time. This new non-working gig rocks. Let me bask in it for just a few more days until my life returns to a more normal existance.

So back to my obsession with my Netflix. I am on a quest to watch more classic or classic-book based movies.

Shout out to Ben, Woot, woot!

The latest viewing pleasure came in the form of Les Miserables, the 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman. I am a bit behind, I am aware. I knew not the story or the background of the musical, the book, or the movies. It was high time I opened myself up to this great story.

I have been reading some reviews of the movie and it seems that while some people were upset by the adaptation of the screen play for the most part it was a well-accepted interpretation of Victor Hugo’s book.

For a person of faith the themes in the story are remarkably insightful.

The themes of redemption and forgiveness are poignantly portrayed through the charachters in Les Miserables.

One of my favorite quotes begins early on in the movie by the Bishop:

Bishop: Now don’t forget, don’t ever forget, you’ve promised to become a new man.
Jean Valjean: Promise?  Why are you doing this?
Bishop: Jean Valjean my brother you no longer belong to evil. With this silver, I have bought your soul. I’ve ransomed you from fear and hatred, and now I give you back to God.

That is a poignant reminder of what our God does for us on a daily basis. He saves us from ourselves and the decisions that we make which serve to only turn our lives into ruin and detriment. Our own bad judgements, our own faults, our own wrongs, they have been ransomed and paid for. We have been given back to God. The Bishop’s portrayal of a man who is willing to forgive even in the face of the ultimate betrayal is a poignant reminder of the love and forgiveness that God exercises toward us, even in the moments when we are at our worst.

That one act of forgiveness sets in motion a series of events which transform the lives of not only Jean ValJean, but also on many others. He uses that momentous lesson in his life to change the lives of an entire town, rescue the lowest of the low by societies standards, and make the difference in the life of a child.

The compassion and the love that he shows those in his life is the most ultimate reminder of the love that God shows to His own children. Just as God does, ValJean loves the orphans, the sick, the prostitutes, and even those who seek to harm and destroy him. He refuses to see the innocent wrongly accussed, even at the risk of his own freedom. His patience is infinite, his love abounding, and his generousity is limitless. He refuses to seek harm against his enemies.

It makes you believe that we can be changed, that our lives can make a difference. Like the Bishop, who set out to make a difference in the life of only one man, he ultimately changed the world for the better for so many others through him.

We all need to be reminded that on a daily basis the small decisions we make actually make a difference in the lives of others for many years to come. Hopefully our decisions will effect others for the good. It is our own choice. It is our own responsibility.



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  1. Woot for classical movies! Here’s the list that I’ve put together thanks to a whole bunch of wonderful bloggers. I’m slowly but surely working my whole way through:


  2. Reading your interpretation of this film makes me want to watch it again. Because the first and only time I saw it I remember being really pissed about the end but I can’t remember why. Maybe worth another look. Thanks!

  3. Les Mis is my most favourite production and story ever. I prefer the musical theatre production to the film, but with a story this good the film is of course still great!!

  4. We’re seeing the musical this weekend. I got even more excited for it reading this!

  5. I haven’t seen that film. I’m glad you’re enjoying your little break!

  6. I haven’t seen the movie but have seen the musical four times, and I learn something new about forgiveness and love every time. Thanks for the thoughts.

  7. Les Mis was probably the first piece of real literature I read that I really enjoyed. Although, now as agnostic, I might not have the same reaction if I reread it.

  8. I have never seen this film either, but after your write-up…It sounds like I might should watch it too!

  9. Hmm that’s interesting. I know that LaKisha sang “Jesus Take the Wheel” last year and got shelled by the judges because it just wasn’t very good. Too bad if they can’t pick hers this year because she has some very inspiring songs.

  10. Les Mis was one of my FAVE movies in high school because of this. I love how a movie can encapsule so much about faith into an hour and a half just by simply showing a man who changed and is using his life to improve others.

    And this really makes me want to go see it again.

  11. Ben- awesome list. Thanks. Watched Phantom today, it rocked.

    1218- def worth another look.

    Nat- I can’t wait to see the musical, it is a must do on my list.

    Heidi- report back and let me know!

    Sleepy Jane- do it, thanks I am!

    Britini- if you are like me we need constant reminders.

    Dutchess- def worth a reread, I think we can all take different things from it that mean something to us. That is what is important.

    AYWTC- Put it on your list girl!

    EP – me too, like books I want movies that feed me or help me escape. I guess that is why I don’t really get foo foo movies that are just silly, even though I do love Dumb and Dumber!

  12. I have pretty much been in love with Jean ValJean since I was seven (and I saw the broadway show for the first time). If you even remotely like music, you should see it. I typically entice men to come with me by insisting that the whole thing is about war. Love story? What love story? Suckers! Anyhow, I swear the show is even better than the movie.

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