This is a guest post by H_nu. H_nu is a research scientist with a PhD in one of the physical sciences, and a love for quality literature. He describes himself as more conservative than Mormon, and has little patience with Mormons In Name Only. He finds internet Mormons quirky, because they are intolerant of those they consider intolerant. His favorite word is hypocrisy, and expects this post to garner some.
Cautionary Subtitles: Spoiler Alert. Adult Material Alert.
I’ll admit I’m completely conflicted about this blog post. I’ve been thinking about this for the last three days, having watched the movie on Wednesday night. I have never watched the stage production, and was only aware of the of the content by listening to the British cast recording, reading Victor Hugo’s book, watching the 25 year Anniversary special, and the 1998 film adaptation. I was familiar with the “adult content”, and thought the apparent good of the film would overcome the “adult content”.
I was quite prepared to sweep away much of the “adult content” as something I would choose to see, and choose to disregard, or even forgive. Therefore, I won’t write about them. There were two scenes which I consider “over-the-top”, and while a full-description will not be given, even a cursory outline is overly adult. I apologize for that, but I feel the number of Saints who could be spared the harm that this film can cause outweighs the harm they’d have in reading further. Make your choice now, don’t blame me if you read further.
The first is the prostitution scene of Fantine. In previous versions, (such as the 1998 film adaptation), it is clear that Fantine is a prostitute, and that was the level I was expecting. In the 2012 version, the actual prostitution act is portrayed. Sure, it can be described as “clothes-on” sex, but it was certainly a depiction that troubled me, a 30-year-old, happily married man. I recognize that one is NOT supposed to enjoy, or be happy about this scene, that we are supposed to empathize with, and pity Fantine, but the scene was done in poor taste, nonetheless. I did not realize it was going to be that graphic, and felt a warning was in order for those unsure about this. In other words, a PG-13 rating was too soft, and a R-rating was definitely warranted.
The second scene was that of a portrayal of a quasi-salvation-army Santa Claus with a prostitute during “Master-of-the-House”. Everyone who’s listened to that song, knows the subject matter, but again, the portrayal of “clothes-on sex” was in poor taste. In addition, I’m under the impression that the Santa part is an addition, an unnecessary anti-religious slam.
I should note that there were marvelous parts to the movie. The story is still immortal, and uplifting. Anne Hatheway did do a marvelous job, and Jean Val Jean’s passing was quite beautiful and emotional. It was not a waste, and I’m definitely conflicted about my final recommendation. But I also know that those scenes crossed a line and drove the Spirit of God away from me. It didn’t make me want to go out and hire a prostitute, but rather, I became aware that I deserved better than to take such filth into myself.
That’s why I’m writing this post. Not as a judgment against those who produced or filmed this movie, or those who watch and enjoyed it, or those who recommend it to others (I’ll leave all judgment of persons to God). But rather as a warning to those who are conflicted, who don’t know if it’ll cross the line of propriety. I usually consider myself quite permissive in the entertainment I’ll partake of, but this crossed my line, and felt a warning would be in order to other Mormons.