Christian Themes in Films

Did you see LES MISÉRABLES? It was released on DVD in March 2013 and deserves special mention as a Christian themed blockbuster. It is endorsed by Allied Faith & Family which serves an increasingly media engaged market—“religious America”—and encourages and assists the entertainment community in promoting life-affirming messages that touch the heart and uplift the human spirit.  

Below the plot is peeled back as we examine a book, stage production and major motion feature film that has enthralled faith-based communities (and the world).

The Christian Component 

This utterly enthralling story of forgiveness, self-sacrifice, redemption and hope was set in 19th-century France. An ex-prisoner, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), is hunted for decades by a ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole. The most striking aspect of this incredible film is that both the protagonist and antagonist are faithful Christians.

Peter and Judas 

Both Valjean, through a major conversion initiated by a model priest, and Javert, another faithful Christian who prays to do God’s will, commit their lives to doing God’s will as they see it. But one operates with love while the other cares only about the letter of the law. One represents Peter and the other Judas Iscariot in that both betray Christ. Audiences see that one chooses repentance while the other chooses despair.

Book, Stage, Cinema

The novel, written by French poet and playwright Victor Hugo, was first published in 1862 and is considered one of the greatest works of the nineteenth century. The musical was produced in France and adapted for an English-speaking audience in 1985 to a slew of negative “professional” reviews. But ticket-paying audiences loved it and its popularity spread as people shared the experience.

No wonder the 2012 movie version (by Universal) has grossed  $423,043,470 worldwide (as of March 2013) and garnered eight Academy Award nominations and three wins: 1.) Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress, 2.) Makeup and 3.) Sound—the operatic drama is performed against the most stirring soundtrack ever recorded live on a film set.

The Narrow Path 

Within LES MISÉRABLES lies an unfolding tale of the paths we choose in life, the decisions we make, and how the steep, narrow, uphill path points toward ultimate fulfillment. It shows how our human choices often conflict with God’s plan for our lives, but in our surrender to divine providence we can be confident that things will work out in the end. For this reason, many will agree that the DVD deserves a place in their collection of inspiring movies.

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Staff Writer

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