WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Monsieur Myriel is an unusual priest for this time period in France. He serves the poor and gives up nearly all income and pleasures in life. The exception is a set of silverware.

Jean Valjean is a convict recently released from prison after 19 years. The crimes leading to his imprisonment: stealing a loaf of bread and then trying to escape. He travels to the town of Digne, and as the law requires, must show his papers. Because of his past crimes, the inns refuse to serve him. No individuals will let him into their homes, despite his ability to pay. Monsieur Myriel welcomes him into his home.

Jean Valjean does not know how to react to kindness. He has met nothing but harsh treatment in his life. He steals the silverware.

Monsieur Myriel does not call the police, but Jean Valjean is arrested. The police bring Jean Valjean to Monsieur Myriel. The priest lies for the thief, but reminds him that the silverware comes at a price, and now Jean Valjean must live for good.

Jean Valjean spends time in the country, bewildered, warring within himself. The battle is for his soul. He comes across a chimney sweep and steals the boy's coin in this confused, torn state. Eventually Jean Valjean decides to be a force for good. He travels to Montreuil-sur-mer, where he keeps his true identity a secret. He takes on the name Monsieur Madeleine and uses the money from the silverware to start a factory. It improves the economy of the entire area. He gives most of his wealth away, stresses honesty among his workers and is so beloved the town forces him to take the position of mayor though he doesn't want it. In the meantime, a young girl named Fantine is traveling to Montreuil-sur-mer.

Fantine is coming from Paris. She has an illegitimate daughter, Cossette. The father has abandoned them. She is from Montreuil-sur-mer, though she has no family. She meets some innkeepers, the Thénardiers, and leaves her daughter with them to raise. She is afraid the people of Montreuil-sur-mer will shun her if it becomes known that her daughter is illegitimate.

Fantine gets a job at one of Madeleine's factories. She is happy for a time, but her overseer at the factory finds out Fantine has an illegitimate child and crusades to get her fired.

Fantine falls into a wretched state of poverty. The Thénardiers invent lies of Cossette falling ill and needing medicine to squeeze more money out of her. She cuts her hair, has her teeth pulled and eventually turns to prostitution in the hopes of keeping Cossette safe and happy. Cossette in the meantime grows up an unloved child.

Fantine is arrested for ruining a gentlemen's hat. Inspector Javert witnesses the mild assault and hauls her in for questioning. Fantine pleads her case, telling him how the gentleman she assaulted threw snow down her back and mocked her. She begs for mercy and tells her tragic tale in its entirety. The inspector sentences her to six months in prison.

While Fantine is telling her story, Madeleine slips in unnoticed. When Fantine sees him, she spits in his face, since she thinks he is responsible for firing her. Madeleine makes the inspector set her free, takes her to the hospital, pays her debts and makes arrangements for Cossette to visit her mother.

Inspector Javert is angry and writes to Prefecture of Police at Paris that Madeleine is really Jean Valjean, but the Prefecture writes back that they have Jean Valjean in custody, and he will be executed for his crimes. Inspector Javert confesses this to Madeleine. The inspector wants to be dismissed for his mistake. Madeleine is torn once again, but ultimately confesses who he is and saves the wrongly condemned man.

Inspector Javert arrests Jean Valjean when Fantine is on her deathbed, shocking her into the grave. Jean Valjean escapes Javert, but is recaptured and sent back to Toulan. He escapes once again by faking his own death in the sea. He finds the Thénardiers and rescues Cossette.

Inspector Javert tracks the two to Paris. They avoid being captured through a connection from Jean Valjean's past. Fauchelevent is a man who Jean Valjean saved when he was the mayor. Fauchelevent is a gardener at a convent. Cossette and Jean Valjean find a new, peaceful life for a time in the convent. Cossette becomes a student, and Jean Valjean the gardener's assistant.

Jean Valjean and Cossette eventually leave the convent and live in Paris again. Cossette falls in love with a young man named Marius. Marius has left home because of a rift with his grandfather over political and family complications. Because of this rift and Marius' inability to support Cossette, he cannot marry her.

The political situation deteriorates in Paris, and the city experiences a violent uprising. Barricades are erected all over the city. Marius joins the fight out of despair. Jean Valjean joins the fight to watch over Marius, though part of him wishes Marius to be out of Cossette's life forever.

Jean Valjean is given the opportunity to execute Javert, but he spares his life. Later in the conflict, Javert allows Jean Valjean to go free. Javert cannot forgive himself for not following the law and commits suicide rather than believe Jean Valjean is a truly good man.

Jean Valjean saves Marius' life, though Marius does not know who saves him. After Marius heals, he again pursues Cossette for marriage. His grandfather relents, and the two are wed, but Marius is unforgiving of Jean Valjean's past and drives a rift between Jean Valjean and Cossette.

Thénardier visits Marius in an attempt to swindle money and get Jean Valjean arrested. However Marius learns from him that it was Jean Valjean who saved Marius during the fighting in Paris. Marius and Cossette find Jean Valjean to ask forgiveness, and he is on his deathbed. He dies happy and forgiven.

Christian Beliefs

In 1862 France, the Catholic Church holds political power. The higher an individual rises in the church hierarchy, the more access he has to wealth and prosperity. Hugo paints the established church as corrupt and hypocritical, though he also shows that some priests love God and serve the poor.

Many of the characters believe in God, the Devil, sin and redemption and are concerned with good and evil.

Other Belief Systems

Inspector Javert believes that one is justified by the law, but when Jean Valjean saves him and he lets the man escape, Javert can find no relief for having broken the law.

Authority Roles

Many religious leaders are corrupt and only concerned about riches. A few live out their Christian ideals by serving the poor. Monsieur Myriel’s life extols the teachings of Jesus and helps transform Jean Valjean’s life because of his kindness toward the man.

A policeman, Inspector Javert, is obsessed with the law. He follows it to the letter, unrelenting in his pursuit for justice. Jean Valjean ultimately proves to be a virtuous father to Cossette, a protector of those she loves and a man redeemed.

Profanity/Violence

Though there is an insurrection in Paris and fighting at the barricades, the descriptions are not gory, though characters die. Inspector Javert kills himself.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Fantine has a child out of wedlock, several characters are kissed and several references are made to working girls and prostitution. None of the descriptions are explicit.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!