As I watched Oscar nomination posts pop up all over Twitter last week, it suddenly hit me that I was running out of time. There were too many movies to see before February 24th. This is not for lack of trying, mind you.
The stomach flu kept me from seeing Les Miserables over winter break, but one day last week, in a move that could only be described as one of complete and total desperation, I hauled my yoga pants-ed arse and my unbrushed hair to the theater to catch a mid-day showing of Les Miserables. FINALLY. It was probably a good thing that I chose the matinee version, because I’m hopeful that the elderly women were just too busy trying to get back into their wheelchairs to notice my puffy, red face as I raced out of the theater hiding behind my half-eaten bag of popcorn.
Way back when Kristen Bell was doing the talk show circuit to talk about the sloth that turned her into a weepy mess, and a youtube sensation, I got it. When she said, “If I’m not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying…” and while everyone else was all Oh Poor Kristen Bell is a Legit Crazy Person I just sat back and thought that it’s possible that Kristen Bell might be my soul sister (except I probably wouldn’t have worn the dress she chose to wear to the Golden Globes, but I guess now I know that she’s pregnant.) because you guys—THIS.
I am a crier.
I cry all the damn time. I cry at happy things. I cry at sad things. I cry when I feel emotional. I cry when I’m tired. I cry when I’m angry. I cry when I have PMS. I cry when I find the perfect dress. I cry at goddamn Folgers coffee commercials. (Bonus tears for holiday ones.) I cry when I watch my children accomplish a feat—hockey, skating, acting, singing, dancing. I cry when other people’s children accomplish feats. Yes, you guys. Other people’s children. As in, children who are not my own.
I fear that growing a baby inside of my person has just changed me forever.
Or maybe it’s just being 34 years old.
So, yes, when I’m not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I am crying.
Although if we are being honest, for me it might be if I’m not between a 4 and a 6.
All of this is to tell you that Les Miserables put me over the emotional edge, basically from about eight minutes in.
I have seen the stage show several times in several different cities. I have a few different versions of the music—with clear favorites from each of the soundtracks. I have seen the TV concert. I wept like a baby when I heard they were making a musical movie version. Don’t even get me started on what happened to me each time I saw the trailer for the film with Anne Hathaway singing I Dreamed a Dream in the background—better than I have ever heard anyone sing I Dreamed a Dream. And I have heard many.
Let’s just say that my children were mortified by me.
So last Thursday I sat in the theater and had a big old emotional weep fest (when I wasn’t singing silently to myself). It was the kind of crying where your entire body aches. It was the kind of crying that left me with a red and puffy face for a few good hours after the film. It was an emotional roller coaster that took me through all sorts of feelings—anger, glee, sadness, love.
And it was worth every minute for me.
It was worth the underwhelming performance by Russell Crowe. I just felt, honestly, that his songs were just too big for him. Can he sing in real life? I’m sure he can. (He’s in a band, I think?) But being able to sing and being able to sing Javert are two very different things. To me, it appeared as though he spent his entire on-camera performance trying desperately to nail his high notes that he wasn’t able to put any feeling at all into Javert. He wasn’t angry enough, he wasn’t strong enough, he wasn’t mean enough.
It was worth the up close and a-little-too personal shots of the singers. While watching a stage show, you are usually far back enough to not see the singers’ doing THE UGLY SINGING. It’s a real thing, I swear. It’s when the singer has to use his or her entire body to properly belt a Les Miserables song with feeling—if they aren’t doing it ugly, they aren’t doing it right.
It was worth Enjolras’ brutal hair.
I mean, you guys.
It was worth that TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD ORIGINAL SONG.
It was worth that moment when I completely and totally lost my shit and did the crying where I just couldn’t control my sobbing.
It was this moment right here.
Oh my friends, my friends, indeed.
It was all worth it.
I mean…COLM WILKINSON.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see Argo. And Zero Dark Thirty. And Silver Linings Playbook. And Django Unchained. It’s going to be a busy January.