I rarely go to see movies in the theater—and almost never see the same movie twice on the big screen. But I did with Les Misérables.
The second time I saw the movie, this time on a field trip with our theater group, the scenes of the 1832 student revolution struck me deeply. My throat tightened watching these fresh-faced, idealistic young men stand up for what they believed right, against injustice and such enormous odds. I thought of the many times throughout history when a brave and idealistic minority has stood against a much stronger oppressor, from the American Revolution to the Arab Spring just a year or two ago. Sometimes it has worked—and sometimes, as in this movie, it hasn’t. Each time when I saw the massive French battalions coming against Enjolras and Courfeyrac and Marius and the others, I thought, “They’re going to get slaughtered.” And, heartbreakingly, they did.