It’s hard to believe it, (especially if you had the kind of beautiful weekend we had in Chicago) but it’s December already. There are only 23 shopping days until Christmas, and we’re on day two of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas (you know you love it, everyone does).
It seems that we’ve reached that time of the year when everyone’s counting down—to Christmas, to the end of Christmas (Scrooges), to the New Year. Everyone’s looking back and looking forward at the same time.
At 2WC we’re not strangers to the countdown. In past years we’ve done end-of-the-year and Christmas movie countdowns. But this year, we thought we’d mix it up. After all, Christmas and New Years will always be there, but it’s not every year that you can countdown to the film release of one of the greatest epic musicals of all time —Les Misérables.
The film (conveniently enough) has its US debut on Christmas day. Today we’re kicking off our countdown with a look at the leading men: Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert.
For those who haven’t seen the musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil or read the classic novel by Victor Hugo, here’s some quick background. Jean Valjean is the protagonist and Inspector Javert is the antagonist (that’s all you’re getting).
The tale of the parole-breaking/reborn convict (he stole a loaf of bread) and the pious policeman who dedicates his life to pursuing and bringing that man to justice makes for one of the most epic battles of good and evil to ever grace the stage.
However, to label either of these characters as simply good or evil would be short-selling the complexity of their conflict and struggle with each other and themselves.
Sure, you could easily characterize Valjean as the hero of this piece and he is, but his true brilliance is found in his imperfections.
Javert, in turn could be simply confined to the role of villain, but ultimately him and Valjean are really not all that different. They are both god-fearing men trying to attain justice as they see it. It is these similarities that define their relationship and makes their story inspiring and tragic.
Truth be told Javert’s lifelong pursuit of Valjean is as much a love story as it is a cop and robber tale. We learn as much from their failings as we do from their successes and these complexities provide a strong foundation for a story that is larger than both of them.
Next Sunday: The Leading Ladies
…and of course some Christmas music…