Yesterday was such a funny day. It consisted of present-opening, pumpkin muffins, a last minute realization that we couldn't both cook the turkey and go watch Les Misérables, a decision to go watch the movie and then come home and cook lamb instead, an encounter with a sold out afternoon showing that led to purchasing the evening showing and barely finding a restaurant other than Denny's that was open at 4:00 on Christmas for dinner without reservations, and finally a late viewing of the movie. It was a day of randomness, but also an entertaining one.
I would probably preface my thoughts on the movie by explaining that I do like musicals, but that's a difficult statement: musicals are as diverse as anything else and I can either like one or not depending on other factors besides just the involvement of music. Movies-wise, I like The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd, but found West Side Story boring. It just depends.
I also wasn't previously very familiar with the story of Les Misérables. The book is on my mind's list of books to read someday, but so are many others. And musicals don't tend to be terribly much like the books they're based on, anyway, do they? (Which I am not saying is a bad thing, just a fact.)
Les Misérables was filled with music, but not so much of the musical number variety; songs, instead, took the form of dialogue sung instead of spoken. It was the combination of the music with the actors' performances that made this movie such a piece of artwork. The one thing I think we all know about the story is that it's very sad material, and the actors all brought so much passionate emotion to their performances. Their singing was often tearful, but never fabricated.
This story was something of an ode to me. It's an ode to sorrow and oppression and an ode to the one thing that can have meaning under such conditions, love. Although the theme of love makes it a fitting movie to come out on Christmas day, it could also have come out on the Fourth of July for its themes of endurance, independence, and strength of resolution. These characters--I think it must be these characters that make this story compelling. While some I see as symbolic figures, others are so real--we feel their sorrows and hope so much for the world to change and grow better for them. Which brings us to the final note: the hope for the future that this story leaves us with. And that, further, fits in with the approaching New Year. A New Year for new hopes and new chances.