It is hard to believe how much impact Les Mis has had on my life. It all started in December of 2012. My parents took me to see the movie. The only thing I knew about the musical was “I Dreamed A Dream”, but I had no idea what the title meant. The moment the first character died, I was shocked. I realized at that moment that Les Mis was in fact a tragedy. I thought a tragedy could never exist in the world of musicals. I was so in shock at that moment and that emotion showed up throughout the rest of the show. At the end, I did not know if I enjoyed it or not. The next thing you know, I was digging deeper into the show and was interested in knowing more. I want to say I did enjoy it the first time despite all of the shock I faced.
After the second time I saw the movie, I was curious about why I always feel uplifted and inspired by the end of the show. I was able to realize that the musical is way more then tragedy. I was able to analyze the musical at such a deeper level. After the second viewing, I knew there was something special about Les Mis. I knew it had something to do with the incredible emotional impact due to brilliant songs. It has these themes of love, forgiveness, compassion, hope, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption, which is why the storyline is so inspirational. Before Les Mis, I thought tragedies were just plain sad and I just pushed the genre back due to that kind of thinking. Les Mis did teach me tragedies are way more then sad.
Les Mis changed musical theatre forever. It changed everything that I already knew. All of the emotions were transformed. It was like they were being reborn. There was already joy, excitement, love, and sad. All of those emotions became tested when Les Mis became an important part of my life. I never thought those emotions had more capability in them then I thought they did. Look at what sad did. That one truly was transformed and became deeper then ever before. It became even more powerful and even more layers began to exist. Whenever I listen or watch Les Mis either by movie, concert, stage show, or soundtrack, I am always reduced to tears. I am positively influenced by all of the emotions in Les Mis including the negative emotions.
Les Mis has characters that are so well crafted. Some of the characters have a wonderful arc. Jean Valjean, the protagonist, was able to became a compassionate, honest, and saintlike man despite being an ex-convict. He kept on always doing the right thing even if it could possibly risk his life. Javert, the antagonist, may seem like a villain, but in reality he really isn’t. He just sees the world in black and white and is too obsessive about capturing Valjean after breaking parole.
If you want to look at villains, then look at those abusive, greedy, and cruel Thenardiers. They are the characters you love to hate, but provide the much needed comic relief. You end up falling in love with Gavroche and Eponine, their children.
Eponine is such a loving, brave, and loyal teenager who has to live through poverty, abuse, and unrequited love. She will do anything for Marius even though he will never love her back. She risks her life several times for him. Fantine is also put through unfortunate circumstances, but she manages to thrive through showing unconditional love toward her daughter, Cosette.
As a child, Cosette is so strong due to all of the abuse she faced and once an adult, she is extremely protective and sheltered due to her adopted father, Valjean, being an ex-convict. She may seem somewhat boring, but she is quite curious. Marius is one of the student revolutionaries who is conflicted between his love for Cosette and his passion for what he believes in. He is capable of showing compassion and that is seen through how he treats Eponine. Enjolras and the students are so passionate about their uprising and stay passionate towards the end even when they feel hopeless knowing that they will lose. They want to make a change due to the weak government and they are so close towards each other.
I can’t even pick my favorite character or song from the musical. However, my favorite solo from the musical is “On My Own”. Thinking of Eponine, I love “A Little Fall of Rain”, which is one of the most touching songs and one of the best scenes at the barricades.The songs are so powerful, passionate, and inspiring. Some of the songs have epic quality such as “Look Down”. They truly show honest truth, insight, and vulnerability towards the characters. This show is filled with several emotions and it moves me each and every time.
Les Mis teaches many things. It teaches that you can raise above your background, that there is hope in the midst of darkness and inspires you to become a better person. Learning to play Les Mis on the piano gave me a bigger appreciation of the songs. Due to my love for the show, I was able to play with emotion and passion. Les Mis deserves to be the sensation that it is. It is quite unique and special. It is so inspiring even though it is heartbreaking. Les Mis truly taught me how to embrace the negative emotions in musicals. I was able to learn about musical emotions through the perspective of tragedy.