It’s my guilty secret that I didn’t rate ‘Les Miserables’, the show. Perhaps it was because I hadn’t yet had my eyes checked so couldn’t see properly, perhaps I was just really tired and had a little nap, or perhaps I just found it boring. Who knows.
So don’t ask me how I ended up with tickets to see ‘Les Misérables’, the film, on a girly night out. I think I probably didn’t want to feel left out. Anyway, I went feeling like a fraud and was praying to the Film God that this would be an ‘ok’ film. Or at least, that if I fell asleep, no one would notice. Or that if my friends suddenly burst into song during it, that my lack of song knowledge would go unseen.
Firstly, can I just say, WHY DID NO ONE WARN ME THIS WOULD BE SO SAD?
It really, really is sad. I shed about 14 tears which is a lot for me. Les Misérables is lovely, devastating, funny, warming, touching, terribly sad, tragic, uplifting – that’s a lot of emotions to pack into a 2 hour 37 minute film.
I loved it. The scenery, the sets, the outfits, the story, the cast – everything. Well mostly everything (keep reading…). There’s no point me harking on about it in detail, that would run the risk of over-hyping it and it ending in disappointment. Go and see it. If you don’t know the story, it doesn’t really matter, but you can get the lowdown of the Les Misérables plot on Wikipedia.
I admit, I had huge doubts about Les Mis – I wasn’t sure that a musical would capture my attention for nearly three hours and I’ve often found that in theatre productions, I lose the words to the tune. But the singing in this was perfect for me; whilst some of the performances were better than others, it was powerful, full of fragility, emotion, rawness and reality. Plus, each word was crystal clear.
Three ways I would improve the film version of Les Misérables
- Louder music during the sad bits. I had quite a stiff jaw from clenching whilst trying not to make embarrassing gulpy shnuffly noises.
- Provision of sick bags – some of camera sweeps are beautiful but make you feel slightly sick.
- A prettier version of Cosette. Sorry Amanda Seyfried, but I’d have been disappointed if I’d grown up to look like you after having been such a cute kid.
Why has no one marketed the tears?
I’m a little surprised that no big companies have notched onto the fact that ‘Les Misérables’ is such a tear-jerker. With 84%* of the audience shedding a tear, it’s high time this was exploited. Here’s some ideas for a start:
- Kleenex hand out girl-sized and man-sized tissues as you go into the film.
- Boots or the like, come up with a ‘Les Mis’ survival kit, complete with handbag size tissues, bar of chocolate to help you through the emotional roller-coaster, and eye-liner or mascara to help repair your tear-ridden face. For men, instead of make up, it’d come with a ‘Man-Up’ DVD, such as King Kong.
If this post hasn’t convinced you to see the film, take a look at the Les Misérables trailer:
The Main Cast of Les Misérables
- Hugh Jackman – Jean Valjean, aka prisoner 24601
- Russell Crowe – Javert, the prison guard
- Anne Hathaway – Fantine, factory worker of Jean Valjean, who later ends up destitute and penniless. Mother of Cosette.
- Isabelle Allen – the child Cosette who is ‘looked after’ in the loosest of terms by the Thénardiers
- Amanda Seyfried – the adult Cosette, who falls in love with Marius
- Eddie Redmayne – Marius, a student who falls head over heels in love with Cosette after a brief glimpse of her.
- Sacha Baron Cohen – Monsieur Thénardier, a scheming quick-fingered crook
- Helena Bonham Carter – Madame Thénardier, a garish con woman
- Samantha Barks – Éponine, daughter of the Thénardier, who suffers the pain of Marius’ unrequited love
Les Misérables is currently showing across cinemas nationwide.
*This is a made up fact, but what’s important is that it’s probably true.