Today I am going to see the movie Les Miserable with my sisters. I have seen the stage production three times, read the book, and watched a film version starring Liam Neeson, so it will be interesting to do a little comparison.
I’ve read a lot of great things about Anne Hathaway’s moving portrayal of the tragic factory-worker-turned-prostitute Fauntine. Fauntine is a character that has filled me with mixed emotions ever since I read the book. As a woman who understands what it feels like to not have life turn out like the dream I dreamed, I ache for her, but as a mom, I have a hard time getting past the fact that she handed her little girl over to complete strangers. It pains me to see her sink lower and lower, but at the same time I see her paying a heavy price for extremely unwise choices. More than anything though, Fauntine makes me think; her sad story reminds me that our choices impact our future, and that desperation can lead us to decisions we never imagined ourselves making. She prompts me to thank God that I live in a day and age when women have more options than working in sweat shops and selling our hair, and that as difficult as life has been at times, I have never been as destitute as Fauntine.
Most importantly, seeing her tale unfold reminds me that every person that leaves me wanting to scream, “How could you be so stupid?” got their gradually, and probably after experiencing extremely painful things. I find myself being a bit less critical of those caught in lifestyles that God has spared me from, understanding that what I see them doing is most likely not the life they dreamed they would have.
What lessons has God taught you through characters in movies and books? Which lessons have helped you recognize God’s grace and prompted you to extend that grace to others?
NOTE: If you have seen Les Mis and want to go deeper into the story and characters, I highly recommend reading the book. I read it two summers ago and it is now one of my favorite books of all time—well worth the time spent getting through over 1400 pages.