I admit I came late to Les Mis.
Despite being a young adult when it was in the theatre in my home town and despite studying French for many years and being a bit of a Victor Hugo fan, I didn’t go. I don’t know why. It’s possible that it fell in that window in which most of my money was spent on drinking and fast times. 😉
So when the movie came out I thought it was high time I caught up with this phenomenon. So I went. And I enjoyed it very much. It was visually gorgeous and the performances were, in my humble opinion, excellent. I thought the decision to use actors who could sing and record them as they acted was brilliant. Anne Hathaway deserved that Oscar. Her broken rendition of ‘I dreamed a dream’ was one of the most harrowing things I’ve seen on a screen in recent times.
But the upshot of all of this is that I get it now. I get why people adore this musical. There’s a great, sweeping story with love and death and heroism and vileness and more than a touch of madness, yes. But the main attraction is the music. It’s magnificent. It’s infectious. Indeed, after seeing the movie, I stomped around singing ‘I hear the people sing’ so many times that my darling daughter threatened to storm my barricades and make the streets run with my blood if I didn’t stop.
And it appears I am not alone in loving it. You must watch this wedding video which is a great testament to the musical, to how much these people like the married couple (because there was rehearsal involved) and what can happen if you leave the choristers alone with the beer for too long…