English major. French minor. Violinist. My friends looked at those three elements of my life and made a simple prediction. Emily will love Les Misérables.
I was resistant for a time but as the movie premiere approached began to investigate. I had made a goal to read fifteen pages of the English version of the book and 7 pages of the original French a night (I figured I wouldn’t finish both in a little more than a month). Needless to say I did love the beautiful language but as school became busier I had to eventually drop my goal.
In spite of not finishing as I had intended I still was up for a trip to the movies when my close friend offered. Just three hours spent in a dark theater and my who world had changed. I walked out those movie theater doors a changed woman.
So whether I like it or not I have officially become addicted to my new favorite musical (or opera depending on your definition). How to explain that process? Well, I am in a stage right now that I often go through after seeing a particularly remarkable musical. My family can tell you that this is not the first occurrence of this problem.
It seems to me that I have PAMD (post amazing musical disorder). It starts with the lingering of the music in my brain. Certain themes will drift casually within my head and I am forced to hum them and remember all the glories of the beautiful piece I saw. Then I am naturally frustrated by not remembering any words and have to look up the music in order to start learning some lyrics to go with the melodies. And then the songs start following me everywhere. My head pops off the pillow in the morning already chanting the lyrics, already filled with the tunes. For months the musical is all I can listen to.
But I think it’s more than the beautiful music that caught my attention. One of the things that has truly captivated me is the messages and themes contained in the beautiful lyrics.
There is such an element of forgiveness to the story. As a Christian, I recognize the ideas of sacrifice and redemption as well. *spoilers ahead* Jean Valjean dedicates his life to showing the forgiveness he was shown. He cares for the fallen Fantine and risks his life to bring up her child. He gives up the chance to kill his enemy. Valjean is in so many ways a picture of the nature of Christian hope in overcoming past faults and finding forgiveness.
I think in many ways this is the reason the musical resonates so deeply for myself at least. Elements of hope and forgiveness are touching to viewers because it is not hard to recognize the brokenness and hurt in our own lives. Seeing those who are fallen being restored to grace is a beautiful image of the desire to find peace in our lives. I know I shed numerous tears during the movie and have since cried while listening to the music. Others I have talked to have admitted to the same thing.
For those of you who have seen Les Misérables spend some time today thinking about the elements that touched you. Maybe you will also find something to connect to within the beautiful music. For those who haven’t seen the musical I strongly suggest you do. It is well worth the money and the time (at least in my opinion as an English/French/musical addict).
There are connections all around us in life. Every time you open a book, go to a movie, listen to a song think a little bit. I find so much more meaning in life when I delve beneath the surface. But enough nerdiness! I’ll leave you simply with this line:
“Take my hand, and lead me to salvation
Take my love, for love is everlasting
And remember the truth that once was spoken
To love another person is to see the face of God!”