Friday, 1 March 2013

Les Mis - Then and Now

Growing up in the 80's we had good music. I'm not just talking about Duran Duran, Wham!, Prince, Madonna (when she was good), Tears for Fears, etc. We had some great musicals that came out, Phantom of the Opera, Cats (well almost anything at that point by Andrew Lloyd Webber) and Les Miserables were the big ones.

The music from some of these musicals were almost as popular as the music you'd hear on the radio within some circles I associated with. Some songs even became "catch phrases" amongst these groups of people. It was fun, with some of my friends I'd even greet them (singing) a line from one of the musicals and anticipate the proper response. I tended to do this with one friend in particular simply for fun. She is probably one of the most tone deaf people I have ever met (which is funny because her mother sang beautifully like an opera singer). But she loves to sing, and it was always fun and even now to this day, we still do it occasionally.

My high school, in the midst of the love affair with Les Mis the musical, performed the Victor Hugo play Les Miserables that Les Mis (the musical) derives from. And yet another extension of my love affair with the musical grew. 

When it was announced that Les Miserables was being made into a film, I grew concerned. Musicals in recent years tend to not translate well onto the screen. I'm not sure why that is, but for whatever reason it tends to be the case. The casting would have to be perfect, the director... it's like messing with something sacred you know?

I wanted so very desperately to go to see it with not only my husband, but with those I had celebrated the musical with when it had been released during our teen years. Some unfortunately no longer live near by, and some I no longer (with the exception of on Facebook) I have contact with.

As I sat in the theater and the movie started, it became clear that my fears were for nought. I know a lot of people either loved it, or hated it. There seems to be no middle ground. I know a lot of people cried during Anne Hathaway's "big scene". I didn't. Honestly I can remember thinking 'uh oh...' does this mean I'm not going to cry? I found that surprising knowing me. I often watch television programs and by the end of episodes I am in tears frequently turning to my husband saying 'why do you make me watch this shit?'.  But, in form true to myself by the raise of the lights, I (and the rest of the movie theater, including my husband) were in tears, free flowing.

For me the tears flowed for a multitude of reasons, not just brought on by the spectacular of the movie but also for the emotion of the past surfacing and my connection to the musical itself. And the memories, both good and bad of those precious people I still, to this day, hold dear.

Do you hear the people sing?

One Last Glimpse,


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