Friday, December 28, 2012

Comfort and Confrontation for us Les Miserables Snobs



This is not the review I've been unable to write yet. It is simply thoughts from a selfish person. 

My initial reaction to news of the movie was horror and panic. None of the actors were right and I was sure none of them could possibly sing and everything would be ruined and destroyed. But as I continued to see more and more information on the movie, I started to become fearfully hopeful, or at least less fatally pessimistic.

It was the same for many hardcore Les Miserables fans--the movie was terrifying. So many things could go wrong. Some things would obviously have to be sacrificed and new things would be added. Also, it would be in the hands of the common man to critique, under-appreciate, misunderstand, or, worst of all, paste on fashion journals and Claire's jewelry. It was something we cherished and hoarded, something we wanted to share with a select few and could only be adored after careful study and loving care.

Eventually it was brought to my attention my attitude reeked and, after almost a week of butterflies and in trembling, almost hysteric anticipation, I went to the theater Christmas evening. I couldn't process it to begin with. I couldn't talk about what had just happened and I certainly couldn't discuss anything else. I went home and sat in the middle of my floor and stared at the wall. 

I'm still mostly speechless and haven't been able to formulate a true review even with many attempts. If it wasn't for my family, I might still be leaning my head against a theater chair and rocking back and forth with occasional groans and gasps. 

Les Miserables will be treated lightly by many, laughed at by others, and offensive to some, but I think most will emerge from the dark movie theater into the world, shaken up and a little uncomfortable, with a new sense of awe and wonder. Such is my case. 

The story is sure to be talked about, discussed, seen, appreciated, and yes, under-appreciated too. But the important thing is it's getting shared and spoken and screamed and played out in front of people's eyes and in people's souls. Perhaps our hesitation or inability to discuss or share it with one another is because it's akin to becoming stripped of everything we have and shown the true story of our own selves--hopeless, angry, alone, sinful, black. This is who we were, with rotten teeth or a pressed inspector uniform, and then something bigger--mercy, love, grace, light--the painful, tireless, devastating love of God. Yes. It means misery and death, but it also assures us that even the darkest night--the sin of our own souls--will end, crucified to a cross, and the Sun will rise. 

7 comments:

Rachel Joy said...

Bethany,
So beautiful! Can I just stay wrapped in these words for forever?
I'm trying to organize a movie night for a couple of us to see this.

KattyRae said...

Wow!
You have somehow managed to capture my thoughts which I have not been able to express on the subject!
I think you a very right.

Hannah said...

I want to go see it right now!!! But first I must finish the book... ;)

Thanks for getting me even more excited about it! I guess... =)

Hanny said...

I've actually been afraid to watch this myself, but I think it's something that I'm going to have to do now.

I'm wondering also if I'll have the courage to watch the new 'Gatsby.'

Thanks for the thoughts, and I'll look forward to the review:)

Jennoelle said...

oh oh oh. I...wow. I was just thinking about so much of this today. how yes, things were sacrificed and changed in the movie. and it really unnerves me how under-appreciated I feel it may quickly become, and yes I half of me wants to keep it for myself because truly how many people can really adore it for more than some big names and cool sets and the fact that it made them cry? it's so hugely part of my heart that I can't even describe, and sometimes it hurts to have people talk about it as if they could love it as well as I--and then I realized my attitude was awful as well. and I should be glad people are seeing this story, this message. because it's still LES MIS and so many more people now can be introduced to this honestly life-changing, beautiful redemption story.

so yes. I've been unable to write a review as of yet, but this so spoke to me. bravo, and long live Les Mis.

Ice Girl said...

I know nothing about Les Miserables, but it sounds intriguing.

Josiah Woltersdorf said...

You had better dare never to say that anything was wrong with that movie. I liked it just the way it was. If you ruin it for me,..... I'm telling you...