Saturday, January 05, 2013

Les Miserables - Movie Review

Mike and I recently went to see Les Miserables.  I even learned how to pronounce it!

This movie was so very different from "Parental Guidance" in nature, but actually I think both had a lot to say about forgiveness. Les Miserables is a very dark movie, though.  I mean that quite literally.  There are actually only a few scenes shot during a time of sunshine. The following trailer comes early in the movie and it gives you a sense of the hopelessness many of the characters felt.

One thing I really enjoyed was the singing!  It is quite beautiful.   The characters were not singing to a soundtrack; that was obvious. The whole movie felt a bit like watching a major play production, but with really, really good seats.

This trailer will give you an idea of some of the majesty of the film.  I would definitely use the word "gritty" to describe most of the scenes. At first it is difficult to imagine this film has any potential to be uplifting, but it really is in a way. It shows characters who are in the most miserable situations, who have been abused and mistreated. It shows good people resorting to theft and prostitution to survive. I  know, that still doesn't sound very uplifting.

The thing is, at the end of the film you realize you have seen depictions of people who are remarkable in their ability to let go of hatred.  Someone else may get something totally different from this movie, but to me, that was the central theme. And how important is that!? Even in our ordinary lives it is so easy to cling to hatred of those who have hurt us. Yet, that hatred just continues your own pain.

So, yes, I recommend this film.  You need to know that it is very, very long.  Mike said the guy in the seat on the other side of him kept sighing. You need to know that a lot of it is difficult to watch, emotionally wrenching and downright grimy.  You need to be in the right mood for it when you go. Afterward, though, I think it is one that you will be thinking about for awhile.  You'll get your money's worth and love wins out in the end...just as it should.

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