‘Les Misérables’ continues to be a fan favorite
There are so many things that I love about “Les Misérables”. It lasts two and a half hours, so there’s a lot to like. I make all my friends watch it, and you can catch me listening to the soundtrack all the time. My siblings and I play the songs together and we fight over who gets which role.
In 1862, Victor Hugo wrote the novel “Les Misérables”. One hundred and eighteen years later it was adapted into a musical theater production. Later in 1998, it was adapted for cinema with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush. In 2012, an opera film was released titled “Les Misérables”. Nine years later, I still love watching it over and over again.
The music is amazing. The entire script is sung. In most musical films, the songs are recorded in the studio and the actors are just lip-syncing. “Les Misérables” is unique because the actors were actually singing in real time. It was a very ambitious idea, and it was one of the first films to do so. The only exception is the very first song in the film. There was too much water flowing on set, so the actor’s voices were drowned out.
The first time I watched this movie, I was constantly amazed by the actors. Wolverine? Princess Mia Thermopolis ?? Newt Scamander ?! They all played their roles very well, with Anne Hathaway winning both an Oscar and a Golden Globe despite only 15 minutes of screen time.
The plot has so much to do, and yet it is easy to follow. He first follows Jean Valjean and Javert, then Cosette and Marius. It is a story of poverty, revolution and love: family, platonic and romantic. The writers keep the story captivating even if it is long.
Although I love all the songs, there are some strong points for me. “A Little Fall of Rain” is absolutely heartbreaking; I cry every time. This duet is sung by Eponine and Marius, as she dies in his arms. She had been in love with him since they were children, although he never returned her feelings to her. Her last moments are spent with Marius while he comforts her. Earlier in the movie, Eponine sings a song where she stands in the rain. It’s a sad factor in this song, highlighting how badly nothing is going on in Eponine’s life. In “A Little Fall of Rain”, the rain is described as a good thing. “A little rain could hardly hurt [her] now, ”and“ the rain will help the flowers to grow. ”That’s a nice parallel.
Another song that has great parallels is “Javert’s Suicide”. Javert is really picky about the rules. He follows them to the letter, whether they are fair or reasonable. In the previous song “Stars”, he sings about how the stars are like “sentries … watching the night”. They have order; they follow established patterns. It relates to the night sky, and it watches over it.
In “The suicide of Javert”, he has just acquired a new outlook on life. He has an existential crisis after being freed from the man he has been stalking for years. Isn’t the world black and white? Is there room for gray areas and exceptions for the rules? He could not understand this and contemplated his life until then. “The world I have known is lost in the shadows … The stars are black and cold.” The earlier star call symbolizes Javert’s internal struggle in a simple and clear way.
“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is the last song before the epilogue. This song is sung by Marius, after the failure of the barricades. He sings about how all of his friends are now dead and the guilt he feels for still being alive. He visits the place where they used to have political meetings, but also spent time together drinking and chatting. Eddie Redmayne delivers an incredible emotional performance.
The last song I’m going to talk about is “Turning”. This song is less than a minute long, but it’s still one of my favorites. “Did you see them go into battle?” Children of the barricade who did not spend the night. Did you see them lying where they died? Someone would rock them and kiss them when they cried. Have you seen them lying side by side? That’s the whole song. It’s so impactful, however. It shows the personal side of war and revolution. These people had lives outside the barricade. They had families who loved them. The last line, “lying side by side”, gives a little bit of comfort. They were not the only ones to die. They died alongside their friends, passionate about their cause until the last breath.
Yes, this movie is super long. You have to start looking at it early at night so you don’t fall asleep. Singing can sound funny at times. It is really sad and gloomy. But despite all of that, it’s one of my favorite movies.