We have long ago forgone the extravagant gifts at Christmas for time together. We realize the significance of time more than most so my sister’s gift to me for Christmas was two hours and thirty eight minutes of Les Miserables, the movie. Yeah, us and all the Jews. They, who relish the movies on Christmas Day, were none too happy that we were invading their bastion of tradition in droves. To the point of sold out showings, everywhere.
My sister went early to get the tickets. She knows I am a fan. Don’t think the folly of the hundreds spent on seeing this show four times on Broadway is lost on me. I don’t care. Each time I saw it I was moved to tears and brought to my feet as if it was the first time. So expectations were high, well not so much as the trailer and the coming attractions and commercials brought goose bumps and welling in advance.
I could not have had a better seat, last row, and last seat all the way to the right of the screen. No one in front of me and several fans in the same row. Make no mistake this is a movie for fans. The reviews have been mixed but the fans turned out in record numbers for an opening showing…on Christmas Day.
Tom Hooper’s direction is fabulous, his innovation in recording the singing live while filming is perfect even if all the notes aren’t, yes Russell we’re talking to you but who the hell would expect Javert to be able to sing anyway. I love Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, and Ann Hathaway’s one take wonder of “I Dreamed a Dream” started everyone down the path of smeared mascara and sniffing. I didn’t risk tissues for this movie but had a trusty faded bandana to weep and snivel into, so clever am I.
Yes, that was Colm Wilkinson as the priest who saves Jean Valjean from going back to prison. He is my all-time favorite Jean Valjean, ever. And I did see him (twice) on Broadway, so the nuance of him setting Jean Valjean on the path of righteousness was a brilliant cameo pick in my mind. Too much, have I said who cares enough yet?
I thought the casting was perfect, each bringing their acting/singing abilities with them toward a musical as much acted as sung. I love the firsts, the technology, the live singing, and the true to the original feel of a movie make of a beloved Broadway show.
To say I was a mess at the end of this movie is an understatement. My bandana could be wrung out. Whatever the critics say the hell with them. The audience applauded the finale, and I must say I didn’t know how Tom was going to get Hugh into the final number from…well you know, but he did. I loved this movie, I loved sitting in a dark theater knowing my sister was right next to me, keeping an eye on me as I brushed the tears away. I will own this movie and watch it over and over finding something new to love each time including the memory of a Christmas spent with my sister.