Can I start by saying that if you haven’t already seen Les Mis, shut down your computer, run to the local cinema and see it. Then come back and read this. It’s THAT brilliant that I’d happily endorse ‘closing tab’ on TYC.
It’s been over a week since I saw it and I still have every single one of the songs running through my head, on some kind of revolution-anthem merry-go-round. I’m not normally one for musicals: they leave me feeling a bit ‘meh’ and curmudgeonly as I don’t care much for group ensembles or jazz hands. But on settling back into my surprisingly comfortable seat (who knew the front row would be so spacious?) I quickly realised that Les Mis was no regular show. Hugh Jackman was the broken hero, Russell Crowe brooded as the goodie-baddie law enforcer, Anne Hathaway broke hearts as the destitute prostitute Fantine and Eddie Redmayne… Well, was Eddie Redmayne (be still my beating heart).
Set in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the action is split across several years and chronicles the lives of the French civilians in the fall-out of the political/social battles of the previous decades. Nothing has changed, despite the promised action: the poor are still hungry, the rich are still living in wanton luxury and waifs and strays roam the streets, desperately trying to stay alive.
I won’t go too heavily into the plot for the benefit of the Les Mis newbies but suffice to say it’s heart-rending stuff. Like, really. Even I – unable to shed a single tear during neither The Notebook nor Gladiator – felt oddly moved. When the film ended, everyone in the cinema started clapping. And that NEVER happens in my local Odeon.
If you see one film month, make it Les Mis – Tom Hooper has created such a vivid, flamboyant depiction of this fascinating period that it’s already become a multi-award-winner (hello, Golden Globes). Want a tantalising teaser? The closing scene of the film is the most beautiful two minutes of cinema I’ve ever seen. Now go and watch it, seriously – and let me know what you thought of it.