My Love Affair With Les Mis

Posted by Dani on January 10, 2013

One of the greatest thrills I have as a mother is that my girls share my passionate love for Les Miserables. I suppose it was inevitable with all the brainwashing I have done over the years. I had them singing along to Castle on a Cloud when they were 4 years old. I put the song on a mixed CD I made for them to play on their little purple boom box. The boom box was the best $39.99 I ever spent – a Wal-Mart special with decent sound that I bought because I was hoping to teach them to love different kinds of music. And it sure did the trick. Their little hearts somehow related to the yearning in that beautiful song where the suffering child Cosette dreams of her imaginary Castle on a Cloud, and somehow from the luxury of their middle class lives they understood her pain.

Since then we’ve played the soundtrack hundreds of times, so the girls know the story well. Last year, I took my oldest on a mother-daughter trip to London, England where the big highlight was seeing Les Mis live – her first time. Walking into the theatre I had a moment of panic, thinking – what if she just thinks, “meh”? Will the live musical somehow be a let down after all my hype? But my tough girl, who holds her feelings close, was moved to tears, and so I knew I had hit a Les Mis home run. I realized that she actually fell in love with the story just from the music, along with my heartfelt retelling of the story. And this is a girl who takes literature and music pretty seriously. She has read the Victor Hugo novel on which the musical is based, and is the kind of person who will probably read it in the original language one day. My youngest is currently working her way through the 1400 page novel. We are now officially a house of super fans.

This is the perfect story to bond over your girls with. You couldn’t possibly fit more drama into a story. And who better understands drama than teenaged girls! How can you not be moved? When the minister gifts Jean Valjean with the silver he had stolen, then tells him he has bought his soul for God???? When Fantine consigns her child to a strangers care as she lays dying??? When Jean Valjean writes his last confession and tells Cosette the story of all those that loved her?? Gahhhhh!!! I can’t take it. If the movie is half as good as the trailer, I won’t make it through. They’ll have to carry me out.

Now, I have to sheepishly confess we still have not seen the movie. We considered CANCELLING CHRISTMAS DAY WITH MY FAMILY to go see it. You can imagine what that would have done to my Italian parents. So we couldn’t go through with it, although the girls pleaded desperately. Right after Christmas we got on a plane for a surprise holiday to the Caribbean. And now we’re in full-on back-to-school mode. So it will have to wait until this weekend, when we will be holding on to each other in the theatre wailing while my husband shakes his head.

In the meantime, I’ll watch the extended trailer for the tenth time. Here it is for you to enjoy, in case you haven’t seen the movie yet. And if you have, don’t tell me what you think. I have already decided I love it.

Watch for Anne Hathaway as Fantine. She hacked her hair off! She allowed herself to ugly-cry! And her voice gives you chills. I am praying for an Oscar.


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