Saw Les Miserables tonight. The title translated means The Miserable. You do see plenty of misery in this film, prisoners toiling in chains, the desperate prostitutes of Paris, massacred revolutionaries who die for the sake of a lost cause, men nearly drowning in sewage, abused child laborers living in filthy conditions, sly thieves stealing everything in sight and lots of people dying. The reviewer in the Winnipeg Free Press warned it was not a feel good kind of movie and he was right. This is not happy holiday fare.
One person I attended the film with said, “There was too much singing”, and I tend to agree. The movie was three hours long and there was just too much stopping for characters to sing a long reflective piece about why they were taking a certain course of action. “Just do it”, I felt like saying and let the audience figure out why.
I’ve seen Les Miserables on stage and I liked it better than the movie version, but the film did earn a round of applause from the audience tonight. I think for my next holiday movie I’ll choose something a little less filled with despair. Although in light of the somber and tragic news that has dominated the media this Christmas season perhaps a movie that reminds us of all the misery in our world is timely and realistic.
The musical pieces do have some good hope inspiring lines worth remembering in the midst of sadness. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”