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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Les Miserables

If you haven't seen Les Miserables, you should... but bring tissues. Lots of them. Even my semi-stoic husband teared up.
The movie reminds you of how terrible we can be to each other, and how great. How quickly we can turn on each other to tear each other down, desperate to lift ourselves up, and how we can also reach to lift each other up.
It is a story of conflicts, of painful and glorious choices. Anne Hathaway portrays Fantine's desperate struggle to provide for her child, and it's difficult not to see a reflection of our time. To this day there are still women who must make terrible decisions... Watching her raw performance reflects those women who still want to believe in happily ever after. And don't find it.
Hugh Jackman's Jean Val Jean struggles to do the right thing with each decision. Watching him battle with his fears is a brilliant struggle. Russell Crowe's Javert is the perfect foil, a man wedded to the rule of law - so certain, so sure - until he faces Val Jean, and everything he's believed is called into question.
Hugh Jackman's Val Jean's determination to preserve some sort of honor is the quiet heart of the movie, twinned to Russell Crowe's Javert's  faith in the law.
With the clarity of youth, Eddie Redmayne's Marius is sure, certain of the need for change... until finding true love shatters that surety. He's both vulnerable and determined, and blind to one who loves him unrequited.
The students struggle to overthrow those who oppress them, in the face of the apathy of the people, reflects the eternal struggle of youthful change against entrenched convention. Sacrifices are made, both willing and unwilling...lives are lost and saved...and you'll be uplifted...