Thursday, January 3, 2013

Misery Loves Company

One of the most miserable days of my life. In London in 2009.
After their biggest snowstorm in 18 years.
At Kew Gardens. Bone chilling cold. Drippy noses.
Doesn't touch the misery of Les Miserables.
Last night Mr. Hippie took me on a date. To Les Miserables.

And it was a miserable experience. Pun intended.

I really had no idea what I was getting in to.

Though fairly well read in the classics, I have never read Les Miserables. Its one of the longest novels ever written, and I just never attempted it.

I watched a movie version of Les Miserables probably 20 years ago. I really remembered very little of the story line.

So, when I saw a preview with some of my favorite actors and actresses in it, I was pretty excited to see the film. Despite not really remembering anything about it.

I have read good reviews since Christmas, and I thought this was going to be an awesome movie.

I maybe will lose me a ton of readers with this next statement, but I thought it was an awful movie.

Let me clarify that. That musical score and singing was terrific. How can you not love Amanda Seyfried?

The cinematography was phenomenal.

Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect villainous woman.

The others all played their parts well.

I hated that it was a musical. Will they ever just speak to each other?

And I hated the storyline.

I get the whole law versus grace thing. Jean Valjean and Javert. But, 99.9% of the characters die. In the movie. I know everyone dies eventually. But, not a happy ending here.

I hated that Javert never "got" grace. That his upholding of the law totally blinded him to anything other than duty.

I hated the scene when Fantine gets raped. That was one of the harshest things I have ever watched. Maybe I'm sheltered, but that was an assault on women-not just that woman.

I hated the innuendo of the Thénardiers. That whole inn scene was inappropriate. I'm not saying it was inaccurate, it just doesn't make for good watching-in my opinion.

I can't say I hated the revolution bit, but the French Revolution was a terrible thing. About the only good thing to come out of it was the Scarlet Pimpernel books.

I loved the "Red: the Blood of Angry Men" song. It was just stirring. And the very last scene was pretty cool too. So, if you make it the full 2-1/2 hours, at least it has that going for it.

I feel conflicted. Like I should like Les Miserables. Everyone likes it. Everyone except me. I just can't like it.

I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe a feel good movie. Something entertaining. It was anything but entertaining and feel good.

Maybe not liking Les Miserables makes me bourgeois. Maybe it means that I have no artistic appreciation whatsoever. Maybe it means that this Barefoot Hippie Girl in totally not sophisticated.

When Les Miserables was first released in 1862, it had a very diverse reception. Les Miserables has always done well commercially though much of the original critic feedback was negative. People wondered just what Hugo's point was. Many people wondered why he was glorifying a Revolution that was anything but glorious.
Funny, so did I. (source)

I am still wondering what the point of this classic is. Maybe I would have enjoyed the movies more, if I had realized what I was getting in to. But, I can't say that I will ever watch it again.

Btw, speaking of diverse receptions...Mr. Hippie thought it was one of the greatest movies he had ever seen. Hrrumph! 

Have you seen Les Miserables? What was your opinion? Tell me about it in the comments.