Les Miserables commentary

It has taken me a week to find the time, but I have finally been able to sit down and watch Les Mis and satisfy my revolutionary urges.

And let me say a couple things up front: mainly, that I like almost none of the characters in the movie. None. I find Marius annoying and Cosette blameless but unsympathetic and Javert mildly interesting but not greatly so and Valjean mostly bearable. I only have eyes for the barricade boys, not because of the fact they are attractive young men, but because they believe in something. I find that very attractive.

Also, I find myself increasingly drawn to the Enjorlas / Grantaire side of things which, while never actually addressed in the movie, is hinted at very subtly. The way Grantaire seems to egg Enjorlas on in "ABC Cafe / Red and Black", and the way that, though E (I'm going to just type that for Enjorlas, so as to avoid spelling mistakes) has a whole room to play to, he seems to address at least half of his comments to R (re: Grantaire, for the same reasons). And I mean, I find it hard not to sympathize with / fall into R's place because, cynic that I am, I cannot help but find E's revolutionary / optimistic verve intoxicating. After all, "Nobody loves the light like the blind man.”

And then, of course, at the end, where he could have fled, but chose to die with E....

Relegated as he was to a corner and as though sheltered behind the billiard table, the soldiers, their eyes fixed upon Enjolras, had not even noticed Grantaire, and the sergeant was preparing to repeat the order: 'Take aim!' when suddenly they heard a powerful voice cry out beside them, 'Vive la Republique! Count me in.'
Grantaire was on his feet.
The immense glare of the whole combat he had missed and in which he had not been, appeared in the flashing eyes of the transfigured drunkard.
He repeated, 'Vive la Republique!' crossed the room firmly, and took his place in front of the muskets beside Enjolras.
'Two at one shot,' he said.
And, turning toward Enjolras gently, he said to him, 'Will you permit it?'
Enjolras shook his hand with a smile.
The smile had not finished before the report was heard.
Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained backed up against the wall is if the bullets had nailed him there. Except that his head was tilted.
Grantaire, struck down, collapsed at his feet.

I've not read the book (it's a sin, i know, but it's on my shelf waiting to be read), but just from what I know and this paragraph, I'm inclined to think E returned all that love in that one instant. And maybe that made it all worth it. To love another person is to see the face of god, after all.

And oh, the "Epilogue". The "Epilogue" makes me cry every time. Not so much Valjean's death, but what comes after. The barricade in heaven - and E and R standing next to each other, making their stand - and Eponine smiling and Fontane smiling and, oh, it is terrible and awful and i want to hate it because it makes it seem like the only reward is in heaven, and that evil will always prevail, but I can't because that's not what it is at all. It's hope and love and dreams and heaven, not as perfection, but as a battle that needs to be fought and the courage to fight it and...

Yeah. You can definitely get what I get get out of the movie. In fact, I've an awful tendency to fast forward between the Cosette and Marius parts just to get to the Barricade boys and the epilogue, which fill me with such feeling.

I like feeling. As I said, on most day's, I'm very R - "I desire to forget life. Life is a hideous invention by somebody I don't know. It doesn't last, and it's good for nothing. You break your neck simply living.” - with the occasional fangirlish Eponine moments (who continues to steal the show, i think. Her song, "Suddenly"? Amazing.) But I love what E tries to accomplish. I love him, despite his occasional moments of terribleness, despite his obliviousness, despite all his faults, because he is hope made flesh and, for all the terribleness of hope, you cannot help but love it.

Side notes:

  • On some level, The Hunger Games is possibly the modern-day Les Miserables.

  • I find it deeply saddening that Aaron Tveit doesn't have that hair in real life.

  • the E/R relationship has consumed a lot of my time lately. To the extent that I now have fic recs for it. I have also read "these things take time" - the best Les Mis fic I've ever found - through twice this week, because it's so perfect, and am about to start it for a third, because it's that good and I'm that obsessed.

  • Starting a proletariat revolution at one's workplace is harder than you would think.

I love all of Les Mis, but I have a special fondness for the Barricade Boys - especially Grantaire. I think my favorite fic for the pairing is Maybe In Another Universe I Deserve You. I was casually shipping E/R until I read that fic, and I had such strong emotional response to it that it won me over. It's also the only Les Mis fic I have on my kindle.