Less than two weeks before the Les Miserables premiere (oh, and Christmas, too!) and I’m starting to get antsy. What if the direction isn’t as good as it could be? What if the actors can’t sing well? What if “Master of the House” isn’t staged in the best way? What if the parts that always move me when I listen to the soundtrack don’t move me like they should? What if it doesn’t win all the awards I’m hoping it will win?
Oh, the woes of a Les Mis fangirl. But even if the movie isn’t perfect, I have a feeling I’ll love it anyway. I already love the storyline and music so much that it would be hard not to. Plus, I’ve already seen the worst crime committed against Les Mis– Katie Holmes butchering “On My Own” on Dawson’s Creek.
Other important final thoughts before it premieres:
-Let’s get this out of the way: it’s dramatic, it’s unsubtle, it’s emotional, it’s sincere, it’s sad. If any of those adjectives sound unappealing to you, don’t see it.
-If you already know that you don’t like musical theater, this probably won’t convert you. It’s also sung-through, like Evita and Rent. There’s virtually no dialogue, and I’ve heard that they didn’t add much in for the movie, so don’t see it if that bothers you, either.
-I’ve seen surprisingly little discussion of how relevant a lot of the storylines are to today’s world, although one review did note that the student revolt evokes both the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. But there’s plenty of other relevant parallels in here, too- like Valjean, as an ex-convict, having trouble finding work and getting people to overlook his past. Today, that’s still the case for many ex-convicts. Or people like Javert clinging to rigid interpretations of rules that leave no room for flexibility- the way so many people do now when discussing illegal immigration or homosexuality or reproductive issues. Or Fantine losing her job for having a child out of wedlock, while men can sleep with whomever they choose and the foreman is free to sexually harass his employees with no consequences. With all of the double-standards in the news recently (see: Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Sandra Fluke), it’s not hard to bemoan how little some things have changed since the 1830s. WHY ARE WE NOT TALKING ABOUT THESE THINGS? We should be!
The funny thing, too, is that I’m currently re-reading the book (I recently learned that Les Mis fans refer to the unabridged book as “the brick,” since it’s about the size and shape of one) and Hugo clearly wrote it to criticize specific problems in French society at that time. It’s kind of sad how much those themes still resonate.
-Finally, I will share Nostalgia Chick’s thoughts, which I COMPLETELY agree with. Although she’s also a huge fan and goes into great detail about how awesome it is, she also good-naturedly mentions a couple of plot issues (i.e. the excessive use of coincidence, which is explained a little more convincingly in “the brick,” and how, although “Bring Him Home” is a beautiful song, the sentiment behind it kind of comes out of nowhere).
Seriously, even if you totally ignored the rest of this post, WATCH THIS VIDEO. Nostalgia Chick is both hilarious and completely right.