Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He has written and/or edited nine books on faithful Catholic spirituality and is the Executive Director and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register. Dan is the president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com.
I don't usually go to movies to be entertained; instead, I go to engage with truth, beauty, and goodness. I find that movies often allow the voice of God to break into my soul in a way that no other medium can. Movies to me are like living icons - windows to God and truth.
As such, I have little regard or appreciation for the common kind of analysis that movie critics provide (with a few exceptions). For instance, I agree that There Be Dragons really didn't work well as a movie. Frankly, I don't care about the trivia related to why it didn't work well in general. However, I think that all serious Catholics should see it. Why? Because in this movie we are presented with the opportunity to, in some small way, peer into the heart of a saint.
So my criterion for whether or not a movie should be seen relates more to its devotional value, and less to its cinematography, acting, or other qualities. That said, I do recognize that these latter elements can significantly enhance a films devotional value.
Here's what I want to know: can the movie draw me closer to the heart of Christ and therefore conform me more and more to Him? Can it shape my mind and perception in a way that helps me to "bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"? Can it help me to love what God loves, hate what God hates, and see our existence more clearly through His eyes? Does it help me to see what He sees? It is in this spirit that I wholeheartedly recommend Les Miserables.
As with most truths that are profoundly important, Fr. Robert Barron is exemplary in his explication. I will leave you with his insightful reflections on this movie which should be seen and pondered by every person who desires to more fully understand what it means to live and love within the redemptive grace of God.