Wonder in the New Year

If you saw the Les Miserables film, you will know that Gavroche play a far more prominent role in it than in the musical.  The child martyr becomes, like Little Nell and Little Eva, the redeemer of adult sinners.  And, of course, all the children raised by the evil Thénardiers–in the book Gavroche, Eponine, and Cosette–are heroic figures.  Tis the season to think about how we use children to restore our damaged moral sense and our capacity to wonder.  I was therefore all the more glad to discover Kevin Lee’s video essay on the Spielberg face, a subject that has always fascinated me.  Be sure to scroll down after clicking on the link below to watch the deeply impressive video.


If there is one recurring image that defines the cinema of Steven Spielberg, it is The Spielberg Face. Eyes open, staring in wordless wonder in a moment where time stands still. But above all, a child-like surrender in the act of watching, both theirs and ours.  It’s as if their total submission to what they are seeing mirrors our own.

The face tells us that a monumental event is happening; in doing so, it also tells us how we should feel. If Spielberg deserves to be called a master of audience manipulation, then this is his signature stroke. You can’t think of the most iconic moments in Spielberg’s cinema without The Spielberg Face.