Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Saw "Les Miserables" and then...

I fell into the trap.  One afternoon some friends and I were conversing about life when one of the ladies asked if anyone had seen "Les Mis".  I enthusiastically responded that I had.  She asked what I thought.  I told her that I cried through most of it and then asked if she had seen it.  That is when I realized I had fallen into "the trap".  

A conversation then ensued about the appropriateness of seeing a movie such as that.  Another friend pulled up a blog post entitled "Why good Catholics shouldn't see 'Les Mis'".  Discussions were had about whether or not a few bad minutes of a movie render the entire movie worthless.

Whenever discussions such as this come up I always think of the story of the dad who made brownies for his kids and told them after they began eating them and raving about how good they were that he only put a little bit of dog poop in them.  When they were done spitting and being repulsed he defended his actions by stating that, really, it was just a small amount, it shouldn't have any great effect on the overall brownie.

I know many other "good" Catholics who have seen the movie and who have raved about it.  I know many who will not see it because of the one scene which takes place during the song "Master of the House".  Yes, it was objectionable.  Yes, I was uncomfortable.  Should I have left the theater?  Should I go to confession?  

I haven't had a chance to discuss this with a priest yet, but I will because I want to know if watching that one scene makes the movie worthy of confession.  We've had quite a few discussions around the dinner table about this and still aren't sure what the "right" answer is.

Of course, I know that asking 10 different priests will give me 10 different answers.  Asking the others will also elicit a variety of responses, I'm sure, from the "Don't be ridiculous" to the "Get thee to a confessional" variety.

What's your opinion? Have you heard a priest speak about this specific movie, or others like it?  Have you seen "Les Mis" and, if so, what did you think?  Without passing judgement on me or others, I would LOVE to hear you take on things like this.  I know that sometimes, for whatever reason, people can't leave comments here.  If that's the case, I'll have a link to this posted on my Catholic Homeschooling Resources facebook page.  Feel free to comment there, too :)

God Bless!

10 comments:

  1. i err on the side of caution. i've walked too many slippery roads to pressume that one small thing will have no effect (be it immediate or prolonged) on any part of me. if anything, i would advise not to see such a movie in theaters but to view it as a rental - adults only. such viewing serves as a screening of sorts and one can always press eject to avoid any occasion of sin or stop the movie in it's entirety. the movie may be shared at the parent's discretion (age appropriately) if it does, in fact, pass their screening.

    having said all that, i'd advise no movement until spiritual direction from a trusted priest could be sought. if that was absolutely not possible, adoration before the blessed sacrament.

    prayers for all parents desiring to live the radical life in raising up our blessings to resist the pagan times and go the necessary lengths to give glory to God in/and with EVERYTHING!

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    1. I went into this movie with no knowledge of the story or anything, so I really didn't give it much thought beforehand about whether or not there was anything questionable. Typically we do try to do some research beforehand, which is always a good idea! You're right, Lena, we all need to pray in order to be the discerning parents that we need to be in this world!

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  2. I am interested to hear other people's thoughts on this. We are new to the Catholic faith (officially joining the church on February 2!), and I'm still not totally clear on mortal sins, venial sins, etc. (But from reading a lot of forums, it seems a lot of life long Catholics are equally as confused as I am, lol). My sponsor and dear friend, who I respect so much in her faith life and love of God, saw the movie and recommended it. She even said it gives her hope that so many people are seeing it, because of the overall message in the movie. I haven't seen the movie and have no idea what its about (sad, I know) so I have been contemplating doing so, even though Anne Hathaway is one of my least favorite actresses...

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    1. I've had others comment, Kelli, that they wouldn't see it simply because Anne Hathaway was in it. Unfortunately, I was also unaware that there was controversy surrounding her and, I believe, the faith? (Sorry, I can't remember what the person told me happened!)

      Again, I've had a lot of mixed thoughts from people on this. Many people I know who would be described by others as "devout Catholics" saw it and LOVED it!

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    2. I was unaware there was controversy over Anna Hathaway - I just don't like her acting, lol.

      But yes, I did just research it and it seems her Catholic family left the church over the issue of homosexuality in support of her brother, who is gay. Such a difficult position. I feel for her family.

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  3. If you didn't know there was a questionable scene in the movie, then, it wouldn't have been a sin. If you choose to see the movie and take your children to the movie, knowing it was inappropriate, by all means confess.
    I do find it annoying that your catholic friend feels the need to comment on what other people do with their lives. Perhaps, he/she should focus on their own personal sins and refrain from judging others.

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    1. I see this type of discussing going on all over the Catholic world, Anon. People constantly judging others for what they perceive. Been guilty of it myself as it is a terribly hard thing to avoid. Unfortunately, I think once you delve into a subject such as this it is almost inevitable. At least it was an "in person" conversation and not over emails!! This way we were all able to keep things in perspective.

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  4. I'm with those who stand on the side of caution. Like Anonymous said, of course, there was no sin on your part if it was unintentional. And I think that if it was one (actually, I've read elsewhere that there were at least two) objectionable scene in an otherwise good movie, I would not have walked out.

    However, I would not see it after hearing about the problems in it. We need to consider whether it could be an occasion of sin. Sexually explicit movies can generate lustful thoughts (let's be realistic) in almost anyone. And those images are so hard to get out of our heads--they can stay there for years. Were the scenes necessary? Did they need to be so explicit, or could they have been implied and been just as powerful?

    I think people forget that our purpose on earth is not just to get to Heaven by the skin of our teeth, but to reach union with God--even while on earth. We all have weak spots and blind spots--but why put yourself in harm's way unnecessarily? Is a little entertainment worth it?

    I think we can debate the wisdom or objective sinfulness of an action without necessarily judging the state of someone's soul who sees things differently.

    http://contemplativehomeschool.wordpress.com
    Faith-based education, Carmelite spirituality

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    1. Connie, thank you for your comment, which runs along the lines of what I've heard other people say, too. It seems as if there is a big tendency to do only what is necessary to get us "in", mainly because you can still feel good that you're doing the right thing and it is a lot easier to do the minimum. However, aren't we called to be saints? In that case I think it requires being heroic, and given the world we live in, I think we need more heroic Catholics instead of minimal Catholics. I have to say that you are one of the few people I've heard put it this way; thanks!

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