Wept all the way through it. Even harder than I did when I saw it on Broadway. I have no idea why I just have to see Fantine swept up into Jean Valjean's arms as he carries her to her death on a hospital bed and I am reduced to a weeping mass of woman.
I cried so hard so many times that even Bing was giving me sidelong glances.
As we left the theatre, an older woman took my arm gently and said, "Those of us who had past lives during the French Revolution really suffer in this play, yes?"
I didn't answer. Just smiled and walked away.
In the car, on the way home, Bing shook her head, commented on how ridiculous that woman was. I didn't answer. Bing isn't a believer in past lives. I'm pretty much a believer but honestly? I have never felt drawn to that time in history at all. I suspect it is something else. The mother in me aching when watching another mother suffering.
Not sure. All I know is that I have been a Les Mis freak from the first time that I saw it over ten years ago. I have seen it on stage four times since and now this movie.
It leaves me breathless with wonder and pain and that last line about loving another person is seeing the face of god...welll.....it slays me. It does.
Probably because it took me so long to realize it.
I even read Les Miserables in the original French by Victor Hugo when I was a senior in high school at my French teacher's bidding and wasn't all that moved. This may be because I was assigned this project with the only other student in French IV, a girl named Susan who was about ten times better at it than I was. She read aloud flawlessly, while I stumbled all over the place when it was my turn. When we turned in our translated chapters at each week's end, hers was about twice as long as mine. We both received A's. I am pretty sure that hers was duly earned while mine was due to my persistence, stubbornness and refusal to give up.
But, when the play was given life on stage, it made so much more sense to me. I watched Jean Valjean with pure joy, rejoicing at his huge heart, his leap from a good man to a great one. I ached for Javert, understanding his agony at following all the rules, having a righteous heart and still knowing at the end, that a convicted felon was his better.
Fantine, the doomed mother, was one of my favorites, second only to Eponine who I found so much more compelling than Cosette. I fell in love with Marius right along with her, loving his gentle nature and fierce devotion to his cause.
I even loved the minor characters. I thought Enjolras was incredible, so full of intelligence and true heart. And of course, Gavroche, the gamin faced child in an old soul's body.
The whole play brings me to my knees in a way that I have never been moved before. How about you? Did you enjoy it? Do you plan to see it?
It is worth every dime.