I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Christmas. I took my family, which consists of two teenagers and my parents, to a matinee of Les Miserables at the best theater within a 60 mile drive today. It was a sold-out crowd, and except for appropriate sniffling, and a few chuckles at the Thernardiers, totally silent. I did not weep as I feared I would, but all admitted later at dinner to tearing up at various moments, usually involving Fantine, although Valjean got to me a few times as well. I thought that Russell was wonderful as Javert – magnificent in voice and finely menacing as the memory of Valjean’s past who simply will not forget. The major characters sing the equivalent of soliloques, and there are so many of these that it leaves little film time for exposition. Russell’s genius ability to tell so much without dialogue – it’s all in his eyes and his movements again – is essential here to help explain how Javert, a man who rigidly adheres to a particular set of morals and beliefs for decades, finally changes his thinking, bringing him to an intolerable conclusion. The entire cast is fantastic, the songs memorable, and the story is a Christ-like tale of suffering, devotion and redemption perfect for Christmastime. At the end there was long applause, then more applause as the actor’s names scrolled. A woman behind me exclaimed, “Russell Crowe was fantastic!”. Fans of the musical began singing along with the songs that played as the credits rolled. I look forward to seeing it again soon.
Editing to add this bit of good news – Les Miserables is No.1 at the box office not only for this Christmas but also beats out previous record holders for all time Christmas Day champ! THR says it has exceeded industry expectations and will take in $17.5 million.
We welcome your comments if you’d like to share your experience of seeing Les Miserables too.