Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

My Take on Les Miserables 2012

I titled this something more interesting and then figured it would be more interesting to see how many people read it with this title. :P #randomfactover

Kinda funny; the girl who speaks on impulse has somewhat changed into the girl who has to think, consider and develop opinions on something that has affected her deeply. :P

I'm sitting here listening to Les Miserables: Highlights (sometimes I'm so thankful for Spotify!)

Finally, I managed to download the tracks I love off YouTube and convert them to MP3 Audio last night, (One Day More, Do You Hear The People Sing, I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own), and have been listening to them on repeat most of today. :P

I first saw Les Miserables on February 24th, when my dear friend Jess Phelps suddenly invited me to go with her to the cinema in Birmingham on the spur of the moment, which we did after dropping Addison off at the train station. It's taken me this long to work out my initial reaction. :/

We missed half the trailers (YAY!) and curled up in two chairs with mobile phones and one huge Pepsi we shared by the cinema door. It was shown in a smaller screen, which surprised me, as did the viewing numbers. Jess and I shared the same favourite songs in the film, which was a surprise and delight.

The opening number instantly carried me into the film, with both the appalling conditions, the immediate set-up of conflict between Valjean and Javert, the music and lyrics of the first song.

In fact, the music and vigour of the songs throughout the film won my heart as a music lover.

Anne Hathaway's interpretation of I Dreamed a Dream has beaten any other I have seen to date. Her voice had all the emotion, passion, anger, weariness and despair I could have wanted, and her acting between the lines was fantastic to carry across the effect.

Cosette, as a silly, fluffy-headed, blonde-haired doll, has never been a liked character of mine. She exists to be Fantine's daughter, fall instantly in love with Marius and for him to fall instantly in love with her and abandons her adopted father with very little feeling because she's 'prettily' intoxicated with this new fascinating love when they're married. Amanda Seyfried did what I had hoped (as to be expected from the girl who carried off vivacious Sophie in Mamma Mia) managed to add both spice and flavour to her, so that I walked away with a far better liking of Cosette than any to date.

Both versions of the film that I have seen (the original film that was non-musical and the 2012 star-studded musical) I like far better than the book, which appeared to me to be both fragmented and a little long-winded.

The original film united the story and retold it with passion and heartache. The 2012 musical bonds it in song.

The only real complaint I have with the musical, and this is a lot coming from me who could run around singing all day, is that it's almost entirely musical. There are very few spoken lines, which is kinda hard to keep the interest after two hours, making it rely heavily on both the filmography and the intensity of the songs. It worked.

The repeated use of the same tunes in different songs was something I found good. And I loved the harmony. But I love harmony anyway. :P

I admit I wept at the end...something I didn't expect to do. I'm not a film-cryey person as a general rule. The barricade was a very good ending to offset the tender sadness with the promise of hope.

Bleh, I guess my thoughts are still rather fragmented after all. I've not said half of the emotion that this has left me with. However, I'll leave you with two major thoughts.

I believe there are two reasons Les Miserables has stood the test of time, and I believe that to be the musical that has carried the book through.

One is the variables of the characters. Most characters - all in the musical - have interest and are dynamic, not static characters.
Valjean changes from the brutalised despair that had been induced in him by the law by the kindness of the priest to live his life for God - and then was given a motive to fight beyond his rearrest (for trying to live a better life) by the trust given him from Fantine to care for Cosette.
Javert learns that the law cannot define morality, that it comes when God changes an inner man and that while the law remains static, people are dynamic.
Eponine, the daughter of two thieving abusive pub owners, is purified of the low conditioning she has been given by her love for Marius, which enables her to do and dare things she had never dreamed of.
Fantine, a girl whose weakness was in loving and trusting where there should never have been any, does all she can for the love of her daughter, even to giving up her own life.

Cosette is changed by her circumstances rather than she herself changing them - rescued by Valjean from poverty and abuse, she lives in relative comfort until a rich boy lays eyes on her - then she falls instantly in love, never to recover, he dares all for her and marries her, when she moves into the high circles of society. You kind of expect more from the daughter of Fantine and the adopted daughter of Valjean, who loves her so passionately that he's even motivated to live longer in her presence. There is no winning traits in her to make her loveable - she lives off her looks and her pretty babyish traits. She's so static, she is boring.

Marius's saving character trait was his decision not to chase after Cosette and to fight at the barricade, which shows more of a man than previously imagined. In the book, his character was wrecked for me by his attitude towards Valjean after that man's confession to him, and it was saved in the musical by his prompt action in running from the ballroom on learning the truth and taking Cosette with him.

The Thenardiers are pretty static characters.

The students of the second Revolution are full of fire, passion and hope for changing the future, which ignites the brave but failed attempt to start a rebellion.

Which leads me to my second reason:

Les Miserables is a message of love and a message of hope.

Valjean is changed by love - the love of God, the love of God shown through a priest and the love of Cosette.
Javert is influenced by the love in Valjean's life - which forces him to his choice of change - inconceivable to him - or suicide.
Fantine and Eponine are both carried by love - one for Cosette, the other for Marius - so far as to death.

The hope in the film is epitomised by the students' uprising - they wished to make a better France. Valjean tried to live it, to change things through his life. Fantine's hope was Cosette - to make a better life for her.

They all died.

But it wasn't the end.

Because every single person's life leaves a mark. And hope never dies. Hope is a future - something that carries through the present - no matter how dark, because there is always something to live for. To fight for. A future.

"Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that we bring
When tomorrow comes!"

What I'd like you to leave thinking about is this last quote. It both sums up Les Miserables and what I want my life to be.

"Take my hand and lead me to salvation. Take my love, for love is everlasting. And remember the truth that once was spoken, 'To love another person is to see the face of God.'"

Love is everlasting.
And to love another person is to see the face of God.

~Mademoiselle Siân