“The wretched ones, The miserable ones, The poor ones, The victims”
Les Miserables is a nineteenth century novel which follows the lives and interactions of several different characters, focussing on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his journey to redemption.
I love Les Miserables for the way in which Victor Hugo represents the hardships of his characters. Yet the stage performances I have seen of Les Miserables have put me off wanting to pursue having heard this story, any further. However, last week I gave in and went to see the movie adaptation. I was very reluctant to enjoy this and scowled when I was told I would either cry or applaud at the end of the movie.
As the movie began I sat in my seat concentrating more on the bacon crisps I had purchased and the delicious taste of Amoretto waiting for me in the hip flask. I wasn’t willing to give this movie a chance. And then….it hit me! Not even 10 minutes in and the injustice Jean Valjean endured had me agitated and angry in my seat! I was hooked!
I’ll be honest…the film was a little long for my liking…I did feel there were scenes which they could have cut out. However, certain enough by the end I was totally overwhelmed and sobbing my heart out!! The audience applauded during the credits and, had I not been trying to salvage my make-up, I would have jumped on to my seat and clapped with them for as long as I could.
The movie adaptation was, in my eyes, powerful, moving and gut-wrenching.
Being a musical fanatic I knew the songs, yet it wasn’t the songs themselves which grabbed me – it was the heart-breaking portrayal of the lives of which certain characters lived. In particular the lives of Fantine, Eponine, Jean Valjean and Javert struck me so deeply that I couldn’t sleep afterwards….their selfless acts challenged me to reconsider a few things in my own life.
There is so much I could post about Les Miserables but I would run the risk of ruining the story for those who haven’t heard it. But what I will say is that Les Miserables reminded me that we should all have something to fight for. Life is precious but it doesn’t last – this isn’t a rehearsal. We can either be selfish, benefiting ourselves only, or we can hold life lightly and act selflessly fighting for that one person, or that one cause or even that one country; selfless acts benefit more people in a deeper sense, than if we chose to please ourselves.
If you haven’t seen the movie as of yet, go watch it! As for me, I am definitely going to give the stage production another watch.