I have for days been under the spell of the screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Trudy and I had previously enjoyed this on stage and were anxious to see the screen version. We packed up and headed off for Kerrville since our local cinema has closed (seems the owner took off with the gal behind the snack bar).
The movie has so many moving themes: selfless love, idealism, struggle against tyranny, and redemption. The production is set prior to the French Revolution amidst the squalor of the poor people of France. Amazing how the makeup artist made the usually dazzling Anne Hathaway appear pedestrian if not downright off putting. The strongest aspect of the production is in my opinion the music. It is uplifting, stirring, and haunting.
Not to say the movie was perfect. The makers of the film went for star appeal with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Ann Hathaway as opposed to great singing talents. The exception is the lady who played Eponine who was incredible. Early in the movie, I was a little disappointed, especially by Jackman’s and Crowe’s singing abilities (accept this criticism from one who can’t carry a tune in a water trough). Nevertheless, Ann Hathaway’s final song will absolutely touch your soul. She is angelic. There was not a dry eye in the house. Take a handkerchief.
Many years ago after my family watched a stage production, I asked each of them to whom they related. Trudy said she related to Fontine- the selfless mother, Andy’s related most to the gallant young Marius (CORRECTION- Andy says it was one or two other characters not Marius to whom he identified, still different from the other family members), and Katie identified more with Cosette, the beloved child of Fontine and love interest of Marius. I naturally related to the father figure, Jean Valjean who maintained his promise to the dying Fontine to love and watch over the beloved Cosette.
Maybe this is why Les Miserables had been so incredibly successful. It offers so many appealing characters to whom the audience can relate. Les Miserables remains my all time favorite musical.
I strongly recommend this film. Do yourself a favor and see it- but don’t forget the handkerchief.