Nominated for eight Oscars, to the few who haven’t seen “Les Misérables”, the movie captures the plight of ex-convict Jean Valjean, played by Hugh Jackman, during 19th century France. At the very core of his existence are redemption and forgiveness, two major facets of the Catholic faith.
Following his release after 19 years of imprisonment for stealing bread to feed his family, Bishop Myriel takes in Jean Valjean, who steals from the priest during the night. Instead of handing Jean over to authorities, he tells the police the silver he holds are presents, offering him two more candlesticks to take. The Catholic Bishop instructs Valjean that his life has been spared for God and to use the gifts he was just given to live an honest life.
Jean Valjean does as the Bishop instructed, changing his identity, becoming a wealthy factory owner and mayor of his town, however Valjean’s haunted past and Javert, a prison guard from his incarceration, follow him into his converted present, with an unending goal to destroy Valjean.
Jean Valjean consistently attempts to make right the wrongs surrounding him, taking in Fantine’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter, Cosette, upon the mother’s death and raising the child has his own, while constantly being hunted by Javert, portrayed by Russell Crowe.
Catholic symbolism is strong throughout “Les Misérables” indicative of how powerful redemption and forgiveness is, to the very end where Javert chooses suicide over the compassion and second chance at life Jean Valjean has given him, which is the tenet of Catholicism and the backbone supporting the sacraments of the faith.
Deirdre Haggerty, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission and consent from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC, DBA Examiner.com.