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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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The Law of Les Misérables

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I saw Les Misérables the Movie today. I have seen the play a number of times and have always loved the music. It was interesting to see how real the movie is. That the songs, while fun, in the play, are part of a story about much pain and hardship. The movie is very dirty and raw to the elements of a rundown country. The harshness surprised me some, but the music still carried the day. I will probably see it again.

The other thing that hit me was how the law plays such an important part in the movie. The whole chase is because Javert sees things very black and white. The law is what it is and if you break the law you pay harshly. So while Jean Valjean does all sorts of good things, he still doesn't ever get a break. In the scene where Javert takes his own life, it's because the law wasn't followed. He was cut a break and in the end he himself allowed Valjean to walk away.

I live in a world of laws every day, so I could really see the problem every time there was a request for one more hour or a couple of days. In context, maybe the deal would have made it easy on everyone, but how many breaks could be given and be taken advantage of?

The movie shows a number of great examples of charity and how much can be done by helping the young, poor, and elderly. A religious element is woven into the movie in a way that talks of a broader law of God that is forgiving and an ultimate reward.

Over everything is the fall of a country as it moves from a monarchy to some type of democracy. Where countrymen become enemies over a blockade. Even when a traitor is caught, there is a brief moment to say that " the people will decide".

The law in the movie is rigid in parts and very flexible in others. I don't think that any society can function with too much of either of them. It is finding that balance that each of the characters struggled with throughout the movie. It gives you a lot to think about at each of the levels.