Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brainy Leah Reviews Les Miserables

How the young and smart Leah Libresco can think as clearly as she does is a little scary. In her review of the new Les Miserables movie, she writes:

Some of the movie reviewers have called Javert the villain of the piece and implied that he’s motivated by vengeance or cruelty, but Javert is scrupulously fair.  He is like a peculiar ascetic; denying any mercy or forgiveness to himself leaves him free to be indifferent to others.  But to yield even once would damn all his previous actions.  If he admits that mercy is to be longed for, then his idolatrous God of Law is dead, and he must look back over all the works of his strength and joy and righteousness in shame.
Javert doesn’t want enough.  He would prefer a mean sort of fairness to grace, because it lies in his power to achieve one and not the other.  By only accepting standards he can achieve, he betrays those who would have benefited from even his fumbling attempts at kindness.  He refuses to become visibly imperfect in the service of a higher perfection

Law, grace, mercy, redemption, scrupulosity, asceticism, fairness, forgiveness...hmmm. I want to see this movie.


  1. Fine review. A valiant effort to create a more authentic approach to the musical genre, Tom Hooper's Les Misérables is often far too self-serious and humorless for its own good and not all of the actors can sing well, but the performances of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway make up for some of the flaws.

  2. Dan O, thanks for stopping by. I agree with the musical being self-serious and humorless. Although I haven't read Les Miserables but I remember my impression from reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame was that it worn me out at the end.But then, the moral seriousness is in such shortage in the current trash-funny movie culture I did not mind it at all. Being very unschooled in music I didn't notice the poor singing much either. In fact I appreciated the live singing as it lends intensity and authenticity to the scenes.


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