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Values: justice, mercy, love, duty, forgiveness, sacrifice
Age group: 10+
Justice, mercy, compassion, love for your fellow man, duty, loyalty, unselfishness. . . This work of Victor Hugo is unparalleled. Though fiction, it has so much truth packed into it.
This story is a favorite of our family. We love selected songs from the Broadway musical, we love the book (which you can get FREE on Kindle!). But when it comes to movies. . . things get a bit more tricky. I want to share this wonderful story with my children BEFORE they are old enough to read the five inch thick book sitting on our bookshelf- but I don't feel that many of the movie adaptations are appropriate for them.
Fantine's situation is terrible, no doubt. And we should understand it. But why are sex acts often shown as part of the movie? Why do some focus on making the Thenardier's as low and as crass as they can possibly be? To me, these things are a distraction and prevent me from sharing this story with my children. There is SO MUCH MORE to this story than those things. These characters and their situations were not meant to be the main focus- Jean Valjean and his journey from convict to saint, is.
That is why I love this movie version of Les Miserables. Starring Richard Jordan and Anthony Perkins, it is not only a family favorite, but also family appropriate. (There is a little bit of minor swearing, and Fantine does mention selling her body once, but that is the extent of it.) Best of all, I can teach my kids all of the wonderful lessons this story contains.
My children love this movie just as much as I do. Though it is a bit dated (hmm, is that why it's family friendly?), that doesn't really matter to them. The Bishop is so, so sweet. Richard Jordan plays Jean Valjean to perfection, and Anthony Perkins shows just how terrible justice is without mercy or understanding.
The only thing I would change about this movie would be to include some of my favorite Broadway "Les Mis" songs in it. But I guess you can't have everything!
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