January 14 13

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.

Les Miserables Movie

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.

Are You Not Entertained

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.

The UGLY SINGING in Les Miserables

It was worth Enjolras’ brutal hair.

I mean, you guys.

enjolras bad wig Les Miserables



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.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Oh my friends, my friends, indeed.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables



It was all worth it.


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.

  1. I’m a crier, too! It took me until the barricade scenes where I really started to go, but then I was a wreck. Thank goodness the friend who was with me was exactly the same! (And yes, I cry for friends’ kids, too. Heck, I sometimes cry over kids’ accomplishments whom I don’t even know!)

    Comment by Cynthia on January 14, 2013
  2. We are basically twins, you and I 🙂

    Comment by ali on January 14, 2013
  3. I can live with that 😉

    Comment by Cynthia on January 14, 2013
  4. Every. Minute. I thought my heart would break. Totally agree about Russell Crowe. Sorry, thought Enjoiras was a sexy beast. Including the hair.

    I will matinee Silver Linings with you. I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it. Or so I thought.

    Comment by mara on January 14, 2013
  5. Oh I thought he was sexy..I just…the hair…NO.

    Deal re: Silver Linings. Let me know when. I will be there!

    Comment by ali on January 14, 2013
  6. When Colm Wilkinson popped up on screen the waterworks started. How perfect to have the master of Les Miserables in the screen adaptation. I did the silent singing too and when the final scene took place on the barricades I couldn’t hide my ugly crying.

    Comment by Kat on January 14, 2013
  7. Indeed. The REAL master of the house, eh? hahahah.

    Comment by ali on January 14, 2013
  8. I sat in a row with four close friends and we sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. The final scene with Hugh just DID ME IN!!!! I could not control the shoulder shaking. Silver Linings was absolutely lovely. I was not a Cooper fan, but I bought it. He sold it.

    Comment by Louise on January 14, 2013
  9. I’m madly in love with Hugh right now. I never knew I loved him until I saw Les Mis and now I just want the world to know how amazing he is. HIS WIFE IS SO FUCKING LUCKY. I LOVE THE MOVIE. I loved him. OMG. I hate Russell Crowe for the first time ever. I thought he was SO mean! I loved Enjolras, and the little boy, what’s his name? OH THE TEARS. And just everything. The music. CHILLS! CHILLS! CHILLS! CHILLS!

    Comment by Loukia on January 14, 2013
  10. I kind of don’t like Russell Crowe all of the time…Heh.

    Comment by alimartell on January 14, 2013
  11. One more reason to move to Toronto – someone to go to the movies with! I never go! I don’t have anyone to go with!

    Also, I am a crier. I was so NOT a crier until late in high school. I went to see When A Man Loves A Woman, and bawled my way through it because of my dad. I still have a hard time watching that movie. It apparently opened floodgates because I cry all the time. Over anything.

    Except, weirdly enough, CHOPPING OFF THE TIP OF MY FINGER. I have yet to cry about that.

    Comment by Kristabella on January 14, 2013

    Comment by alimartell on January 14, 2013
  13. I’ve always been a crier…and Les Miserables did nothing to curb that. Colm Wilkinson – of course! He had to be a part of the movie and really there was no other part for him. I cried at all of obvious parts, I silently sang too. But do you know who really got me? The kid who played Gavroche! That kid was awesome.
    I’m dying for Les Mis to come back to Toronto (without Bieber, because that was rumour last year scared me!), but I’m also afraid because it won’t be Michael Burgess or Colm Wilkinson.

    Comment by Amanda on January 14, 2013
  14. See!! I just *knew* someone felt the way I did about it and is as big a crier as I am!! VALIDATION

    I was even in Les Miz once (eponine…high school) but even that didn’t kill me like the movie.
    Empty chairs was never one of my favourite songs until the movie. The words just don’t do justice to how I felt watching him cry into his own mouth as he sang…I just…damn.

    Great review, soul sister. And fucking fabulous movie.

    Comment by Nuala Reilly on January 14, 2013
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