The reason is simple: Victor Hugo, a magnificent writer the world would miss dearly if we didn't have him in our history and library, is a writer thoughtful enough to have known his time and his readers--whom we aren't. Freakin' passions in that story roar way out of control for most of the almost three hours you're in your seat, but do so delightfully. Honestly, like gadzillions of others for centuries already, I loved it, loved the story. It was just simply grand entertainment. Goofy at times, but way, way, way good. Don't miss it.
Lincoln is another world altogether. Don't wait for the dvd. See it now.
Strange thing last night: at our local theater, I could have put money down for all six shows. Here's the bill--Les Mis, of course; Parental Guidance, anything with Billy Crystal is a hoot, and this is one, I hear, you can take your grandkids to; Gangster Squad, my last choice, but the stars are really out in that one--Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and more; Zero Dark Thirty, the bin Laden story that's been made even more compelling by the tide of controversy it's created and--lest we forget-- directed by the masterful Kathryn Bigelow; Django Unchained, a Tarantino extravaganza complete with hundreds of n-words and the quite ordinary Tarantino splatter, I hear--but always thoughtful, always provoking; and, oh, yeah, did I mention?--Lincoln.
What a line-up!
I felt alive. Not one of those movies was made for 17-year-old, hormonal males, not one. They may not all make Christianity Today's must-see list, like Les Mis, but there's something compelling and thoughtful in each of them. Nothing stupid, nothing vile, nothing flat out inane.
Every last cultural force is on the table after Sandy Hook--guns, movies, video games, divorce, not to mention a score of societal ills. Moments arise, I must admit, when I understand Islamic extremism, when I share their adroit hate with the poison that Hollywood is capable of spewing. Maybe I'm too willing to baptize things I shouldn't, but last night on my way into the theater to see Les Mis, I honestly felt as if the whole six pack was worth the cost of admission.
And that in my book is rare. That's very, very rare.