*This is not a movie review, it’s some ramblings about my musings on life triggered by a movie. Also be ready for some generalisations! Feel free to argue with me after reading this post 🙂
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the new Les Miserables movie twice at the cinemas. Both times I was swept away by the story, the characters, the music and the raw emotional outpourings of the characters through song. For over two hours I was on an emotional roller coaster ride that I have rarely experienced on the big screen. As I have reflected on the movie, it is the pure, raw emotion that hits me to the core. As a melancholic introvert, I find raw emotion to be thrilling. Even when it’s Fantine at the depths of her despair. I have tried to think of another movie that has the same effect on me, yet I find none. Perhaps Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge comes close, another musical!
Some movie’s these days are superficial compared to the musicals of old. We’re left to figure out through dialogue, facial expression, body language, content and story line to know what is happening in the minds of the characters. Generally this is enough, we know what is happening and what they are thinking and feeling in general and we laugh and cry. Les Miserables takes it that one step further. Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe’s acting was overwhelmingly……awesome. Awesome in the true meaning of the word. Throughout the movie the viewer is drawn into each character’s mind and inner turmoil. Songs like “I Dreamed a Dream“, (click to listen) are soliloquys that reveal what is happening within the person’s mind and soul. These moments bring us deeply into the movie and deeper into the character’s psyche. We experience the emotions powerfully as they are expressed eloquently through words and music. The human soul is displayed for all of us to see.
After watching it twice I have wondered so many things about emotion and it’s expression…
Were people more expressive in the old days? The impression that I get is that we’re more verbal and free with our emotions in this era. Yet at the same time most of us are all tied up. Sometimes I don’t actually know what I am feeling and sometimes I know but I can’t express it. Sometimes I know exactly what I feel and how to express it but don’t for fear of being rejected for my highly emotional tendencies (the blessing and curse of an introvert). So many people are too tied up in trying to play the part of having it all together. We don’t speak of our emotions regularly, I don’t think many people would know how to.
Is that a modern day dilemma? Surely the literature and plays of older times expressed and revealed a person’s inner workings much more strongly than now. Think of Shakespeare, the Bronte Sisters and others. The arts have many functions in our world and one of them is to tell a story and take us on a journey. Paintings, movies, stories – they express and engage us in the human experience of emotions. A lot of blockbusters are action films where it’s all about saving the day and shooting the bad guys. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good action film! But in these it’s all about the special effects and people don’t get sad, they get mad and shoot some bad guys.
Les Miserables takes us on a ride through the rainbow of the human mind and emotions. It’s a musical of old that has highlighted to me how much we’ve actually “buttoned up” in our expression in both personal lives and within the movie world. It is incredibly refreshing to see the human heart and soul out there on the big screen, joyous, in love, broken, bent, despairing and touched by the grace of God.