Les Misérables: Movie Review

I do not claim to be a big shot film critic; however, I do take claim to the fact that I have eyes, ears, and a heart.

Going in, I thought I had never been exposed to Les Misérables in any of its forms. I knew for certain that I had never been fortunate enough to have seen it on the stage; therefore, I assumed I didn't know its story. (I bought Victor Hugo's book awhile back, but have not read it yet!) The film's soundtrack music had escaped my notice because I had been too distracted by heavier things to take time to click on even one of the numerous links whirring past me on Facebook and Twitter.  Out of all my several friends and acquaintances, no one could join me, so there was no pre-viewing anticipatory  conversation.

The movie theater was packed like a can of sardines, but since I had made the fortunate mistake of choosing the handicapped seating, I had two seats to myself. I spread my short legs across the other seat, laid out my long, puffy jacket like a comforter snuggling up with my caffeine-free diet cherry Coke and my purple monkey that pretty much begged to go to the movies for a photo-op. (Yes, I did feel awkward having a stuffed monkey with me and no children, but I will endure just about anything in order to indulge in purplicious shenanigans.)

Then, the movie started.

My senses told me that I knew this story. I had felt the anguish and hope of Jean Valjean; I had seen the mercilessness of Javert; I had stepped into the shoes of Fantine, but when? My mind kept flashing back to a different movie--a non-musical version--when I was with my parents. Once the music burst from Jean Valjean's lips, I was flooded with emotion. Seeing a CD case with the iconic Les Misérables cover art on my mother's book case by the large window in her kitchen. And the performances of the many actors and actresses transformed the flashes of past memory into a wild and joyous experience in the present.

The connection of past to present made the movie all that much more wonderful to me, yet it stands alone in its merit. There are those who criticize some of the actors for not singing up to snuff with performances they've seen in London or Los Angeles or New York. As I said before, I have not seen any stage production of Les Misérables, but I do not need to in order to say that these actors and actresses were amazing. No, Russell Crowe should not go into professional stage singing. His performance was stellar nonetheless. And as for the criticisms of Amanda Seyfried--a load of hogwash. I find her singing voice to be like a songbird that I never could be but always longed for. I feel sorry for the catty and backbiting sorts of critiques that have peppered the internet. These people who performed for the world are PEOPLE. With FEELINGS. Don't be so rude about your dislikes of this or any other performance. There are ways to communicate dislikes without putting artists and actors on the rack for public torture.

Another, more priceless, aspect of this story is the allegory of Christ's redemption which is threaded throughout the lives of each character. The example that stands out most poignantly for me is how Fantine makes mistakes, even commits dreaded sin, yet she is Jean Valjean's angel leading him back to God. I was able to see, within a secular movie, my faith strengthened and renewed. I was reminded that liberty and love are in my grasp, that God does not forsake even the lowliest of his children. I was brought to realize how blessed I am to not be as lowly and impoverished as those portrayed in the film, as those somewhere in the world are right now. My humanity was touched to the core.

I encourage anyone who is thinking about going to see this film to go.

Rating:
Five out of five stars

Polka Dot Purple goes to the movies.


3 comments:

  1. Great review. Let this be an educational resource for future generations. Take note, producers, and learn from the mistakes of Rock of Ages and the accomplishments of Les Miserables.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and enjoying my review! And I completely agree with your entire statement. 100%.

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  2. Thank you Dear for a great review :). I'll go see it when the novelty wears out and I don't feel like a sardine.

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