As a freshie to Les Mis, I had no preconceptions on what getting a gaggle of girls together for a curry and movie was going to lead to. I have been introduced to Opera's and I love them, not as much as my dear friend Lou, but I do love them and are so grateful her and her husband forced us to watch one. Musicals - well I'm not really sure the movie of Grease is classed as a musical, but as a child I watched it umpteen times. And Grease was good, but Les Mis was utterly jaw-dropping. I know that's terribly cliché, but I had no clue. After 2 hours I was hoping it wouldn't stop. I don't really know how to explain it. I think a fellow movie go-er sitting behind me expressed my sentiments even though she used language I would not use; after the last note was sung, and the screen went black she said in utter shock "Oh my g*d". I think most I spoke with afterwards were surprised at how good it was, even shocked, or maybe the shocking thing was just how much it moved to them.
I loved so much about it, the cinematography/special effects were amazing, they gave us huge shots and terribly intimate shots. The singing got me, I love powerful and passionate singing. I'm not saying all who starred were the best singers I have heard, some were, honestly, some were, but all were astounding fantastic at acting. In fact I would be so brave as to say that I saw some on the highest quality of acting I have ever seen on big screen. I can't mention the singing and acting and not mention how utterly cool it was that the lot was filmed live, there was not pre-recording, they sang it as we saw it. Which may not sound that cool to some, but I can truly appreciate that element of the production.
I don't know anyone who wouldn't know the song 'I dreamed a dream', I always have thought it pretty, but to hear it in context ... I can't describe it...context is the muscles behind this song. I imagine that Victor Hugo, who wrote the book the musical is based upon, would have given Anne Hathaway a standing ovation for capturing the gut wrenching pain expressed in Fantines song - it wasn't pretty, is was misery. This is a good thing, in case you were wondering, and part of the reason I was raving about the acting.
As good as the music, singing and acting were, the story was the soul touching winner for me. Someone suggested it was a redemptive story only hours before I saw it, but I wasn't really for the theme of redemption all the way through. The honest prayers sung by Jean Valjean were so powerful, I was so moved by them, the example of a man who bears his soul, it was beautiful. I wish I could be that honest with my Lord. The message; through all of life, there is hope, there is love and there is redemption. Thank you Jesus that we can pray honest, stricken prayers, as well as delightful, joyful prayers. You Lord, hear us always.