My favorite book has been turned into probably my favorite movie.
Most of the United States seems to be talking about the fact that they have or haven't seen "Les Misérables" yet. While Les Mis hasn't beaten out The Hobbit, it's something so different, so unique, so deep, and so... ack. I can't come up with the right word. So I'll just write a whole post on it.
The movie, the movie, the movie. My mom, grammy, Macaela, and I went to see it a few days ago. Leaving the theater, we were nearly speechless, not sure how to so quickly verbalize the experience we had just had in the theater. I know that some people think the movie was a flop, and some people think it could have been improved (sure, probably), but I was quite honestly overwhelmed by what it did accomplish. The film combines all the elements of a great story: action, romance, passion, personal struggle, redemption. But even more than that, Les Misérables kept a vital part of Victor Hugo's original story: God. Each character has some kind of opinion, interpretation, or relationship with God, from anger to fear to adoration. He is the beginning and end of the story, and He is the foundation throughout it. That principle rings true in my life. Maybe that's why the movie struck so deep in me.
I'll say right now that Les Misérables was my favorite book before I even knew there was a movie coming out. For all of you who loved the movie, you just have to read the full, complete, unabridged, Julie Rose translation. (no regrets...!) There are just some things that you can't put on film. There is so much philosophy, character development, and more (a lot more) in those 1194 pages. Here are a few of the quotes/passages I marked that can be enjoyed without too much context:
"Do not ask the name of the person who asks you for a bed for the night. He whose name is a burden to him needs shelter more than anyone." pg. 22
"The ultimate happiness in life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself - better still, loved in spite of oneself." pg. 141
"It has been estimate that in the salvos, royal and military shows of politeness, exchanges of courteous din, signals of etiquette, formalities or harbor and citadel, sunrises and sunsets, saluted daily by all the fortresses and all the warships, openings and closings of gates, etc., etc., the civilized world all over the globe fires of 150,000 pointless cannon shots every twenty-four hours. At six francs a shot, that means that nine hundred thousand francs a day, or three hundred million a year, goes up in smoke. This is just detail. And while this is going on, the poor are dying of hunger." pg. 307
"A hundred yeras - that is young for a church and old for a house. It seems that man's abode partakes of his own brief existence and God's abode of His eternal life." pg. 359
"...every time we come across the infinite in man, whether properly or badly understood, we feel seized with respect. There is in the synagogue , in the mosque, in the pagoda, in the wigwam, a hideous side that we execrate and a sublime side that we revere. What an object of contemplation for the mind, and what a source of endless reverie! The reflection of God on the human wall." pg. 422
"To put the infinite below in touch with the infinite above, in thought - this is what we call prayer." pg. 428
"There are, as we know, illustrious and powerful athiests. When all's said and done, these people are brought back to the truth by their very power, are not really sure of being athiests; the whole thing is little more than a matter of definitions to them, and, in any case, even if they don't believe in God, being great minds, they prove God's existence." pg. 429
"We need to forever pray for those who never pray." pg. 431
"He gets in for nothing to the shows God puts on for him; he looks at the sky, space, the stars, the flowers, children, humanity among whom he suffers, creation in which he shines. He looks so hard at humanity, he sees its soul; he looks so hard at creation, he sees God." pg. 566, description of Marius
"This is how [Marius] posed the problem of his life: to work as little as possible at material work in order to work as much as possible at intangible work; in other words, to give a few hours to real life and to pour the rest into infinity." pg. 566
"He felt that he finally understood, and perhaps he did finally understand, what life was all about and what human philosophy was all about, and he ended up scarcely looking at anything but the heavens, the only thing that truth can see from the bottom of its well." pg. 572
"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the body's position, the soul is on its knees." pg. 766, Marius to Cosette
"I met in the street a very poor young man who loved. His hat was old, his coat, was worm, there were holes at his elbows, the water got into his shoes, and the stars got into his soul." pg. 769, Marius to Cosette
"If there wasn't someone who loved, the sun would go out." pg. 769, Marius to Cosette
"When you are at the end of life, dying means going away; when you are at the beginning of life, going away means dying." pg. 840
Okay, I'll stop here. Thank you, God, for giving Victor Hugo a gift. Thanks for blessing us through him. How good is it to know that all true beauty points us back to the creator of it.
"To love another person is to see the face of God." ~Les Miserables, 2012