Sunday, December 30, 2012

Les Miserables...and why I love movies and musicals

Two nights ago my husband, my sister and I watched Les Miserables. All three of us were giddy in anticipation of an incredible performance.  I exected to be moved, to be inspired, and cry. I was sure I would go through a box of tissues and I was actually looking forward to that experience of the show.

I love the story of Les Mis. It is truly the story of grace, forgiveness, and a changed life. Have you ever listened to the musical? Wow! The lyrics, performances, voices, and orchestra are INCREDIBLE. Put those two together and you know you are in for a treat, right?

I speak music. Now, I am not a singer, I am a dancer, but when I hear music, and singing, my soul connects in a powerful way. This is one of the reasons I love musicals so much.

And let's not forget the power of story (especially in cinematography when you see it unfolding before your eyes). Some stories are so powerful that they change you, they touch you, and they inspire you.

As the end credits rolled out, I sat motionless in my seat. Les Miserables was a good movie, but there was something that just didn't sit well with me. It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally did. I felt cheated.

The story is complex, and there is so much to tell. However, the events happened so quickly that it was hard for me to follow (even being familiar with the story). I had no emotional investment or connection to the characters. Yes, Ann Hathaway's rendition of "I dream a dream" was as amazing as the previous show. However, before that, I did not feel emotionally drawn to her plight. Her song moved me, but her story...well, it did not. It happened so quickly.

Oh the singing was great, I do not even have anything bad to say about Russel Crowe and his singing. It just didn't...connect.

Another great performance was "Empty chairs"  and Eponine was incredible, but then again, I did not feel this great sadness or loss.

Maybe this is a good place to also point out that since this is a movie, I did not expect it to be all singing. No dialogue, no talking, all singing. I don't know, singing, "Who is out there" takes away from how powerful it would be to say, "Who is out there" if you were terrified to find someone that wants to kill you, no matter how terrified you look, if you sing it rather than say it, it is not the same (in my humble opinion). So the "we sing everything" approach actually took away from my enjoyment of the movie, and it took away from the powerful songs, because it all became singing (and I really do love singing).

So maybe Les Mis, the movie, was not my cup of tea. Maybe this is just a style that does not "speak" to me. I really, really wanted to love it, but I felt like the previous did a lot more for me than the actual show. I did come home and found some Broadway performances to "redeem" the experience for me, and yes, I do love Les Miserables, absolutely love the musical too...just not this particular movie version.

What about you. Did you love it? Was it everything you expected it to be? Were you disappointed?

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