LES MISERABLES: Exposition of Christian Virtues at Its Core
"To love another person is to see the face of God."
- Colm Wilkinson's Bishop Myriel of Digne and Anne Hathaway's Fantine, together with Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean, sung those arguably the most indelible lyrics by tail end in the Tom Hooper-helmed musical motion picture, "Les Miserables," a faithful film adaptation based on the 1987 Tony Award-winning musical, written by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer, which in turn was inspired by the French historical novel of the same name, published in 1862, by Victor Hugo, a well-known French Romantic poet and novelist who had evident antipathy toward the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church; but, interestingly, had high regard for the Church's doctrines.
Hooper's non-intrusive camerawork, which amounts to grandiose wide shots, especially during the sweeping melodic instrumental music played prior to or in between the sung parts, and medium close up shots, mostly one long takes filmed at least two minutes to capture the emotions of show-stopping solo numbers such as Valjean's "Soliloquy," Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream," and Marius' (Eddie Redmayne) "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," aided the telling of the story, which at the core of it was the frequent exposition of Christian virtues of faith, hope, charity, mercy, and forgiveness.
Valjean, once imprisoned for 19 years at the infamous Bagne of Toulon in France for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family, broke parole - previously given by parole officer Javert (Russell Crowe) - to start a new life after a merciful bishop, from whom Valjean stole precious silverware, lied before several policemen to save the ex-convict from another arrest. The bishop subsequently told Valjean to use those silverware to live a life of an honest man, which the latter took to heart.
Nearly a decade later, Valjean had assumed a new identity as Monsieur Madeleine, an appoinTed Mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and a factory owner, whose former factory worker Fantine fell into the trap of prostitution in order to pay debt to the Thenardiers (Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter), corrupt inn keepers who had Fantine's illegitimate child, Cosette (Isabelle Allen), left in their care.