We saw Les Miserables, which has to be the most explicitly Christian film that I have seen come out of contemporary Hollywood. There are more meaningful unembarrassed references–in dialogue, songs, and plot elements–to God, Jesus, salvation, grace, prayer, and Heaven than in most of the overtly Christian productions that I have seen lately.
The ex-convict Jean Valjean has received the forgiveness of Jesus, thanks to a priest who shows him an inexplicable grace. In response to that forgiveness, Valjean lives a life of sacrificial service to others. His good works are a direct fruit of the Gospel.
Inspector Javert speaks of God also, but, as he says of himself, “I am of the Law.” He is all about personal righteousness, justice, and salvation by works. He does not believe that sinners can or should be forgiven.
This all gets caught up in the wretched state of French society and with a revolutionary movement, led by idealistic students. (This is not to be confused with the French Revolution of 1789. France had several successful and unsuccessful revolutions in the 19th century.) But pay special attention to the words of that final song.The movie is intense and very moving. It’s a musical, not just in the sense of big musical numbers (though there are those) but in the sense of an opera, with virtually all of the dialog being sung. The film is realistically shot–the battle at the barricade is tremendous–but that doesn’t necessarily go with the stylized singing. I think it works better on the stage. So see the movie, see the play, and, above all, read Victor Hugo’s novel, one of the greatest in literary history.