The Corner

Les Misérables, Hugh Jackman, and the Blessing of Adoption

I’m sorry to interrupt the fiscal-cliff garment-rending, but I wanted to take a moment to mention something truly good and beautiful in our recent pop culture. My wife and I finally saw Les Misérables, and — like most NRO writers — we were profoundly moved. One moment stood out more than the others (caution: minor spoiler follows).

When Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) finally removes the young Cosette from her abusive home, he sings to her as he very gently, very awkwardly caresses her sleeping head. That moment took my breath away. The combination of the words of the song, the adoring yet fearful and uncertain look in Valjean’s eyes, and the tenderness of his gestures showed on the screen the very emotions I’ve struggled to explain since becoming an adoptive parent. What is it like to meet a new child and love her instantly and so completely? Watch the movie, and you’ll get a glimpse of the indescribable joy — combined with awkwardness and uncertainty — of the moment when an adoptive parent first meets his adopted child.  

After the movie, I googled Hugh Jackman and discovered that he is an adoptive parent himself and has very publicly advocated for adoption. I don’t know much else about Mr. Jackman (other than the fact that he’s a very believable Wolverine), but in this regard he is rendering invaluable public service.  A true culture of life in many ways rests on a foundation of adoption — and not just in the literal, legal sense. After all, Christian readers should recognize that each of us has received a “Spirit of adoption” as children of God, and it is that very Spirit that causes us to cry out to our Heavenly Father.  

The results of the election — along with a myriad of other cultural indicators — have reinforced the need to return to first principles, of the need for families to “walk the talk” of the kind of culture we want to restore or create. As an echo of our Savior’s love for us, a spirit of adoption only enriches our culture and our lives, and seeing that spirit so beautifully portrayed on film was a marvelous holiday gift. Well done, Mr. Jackman.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Sinking Collusion Ship

The entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative was always implausible. One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump. Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Problem with Certainty

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you having this read to you while you white-knuckle the steering wheel trying to get to wherever you’re going for the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More

Theresa May: A Political Obituary

On Friday, Theresa May, perhaps the worst Conservative prime minister in recent history, announced her resignation outside of number 10 Downing Street. She will step down effective June 7. “I have done my best,” she insisted. “I have done everything I can. . . . I believe it was right to persevere even ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More

The Deepfake of Nancy Pelosi

You’ve almost made it to a three-day weekend! Making the click-through worthwhile: A quick note about how National Review needs your help, concerns about “deepfakes” of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most cringe-inducing radio interviews of all time, some news about where to find me and the book in the near ... Read More

America’s Best Defense Against Socialism

The United States of America has flummoxed socialists since the nineteenth century. Marx himself couldn’t quite understand why the most advanced economy in the world stubbornly refused to transition to socialism. Marxist theory predicts the immiseration of the proletariat and subsequent revolution from below. ... Read More