Les Misérables has been a defining musical in the Bunt house since it was introduced to Angela & Jackie in 1998. While they’ve never seen it performed on Broadway, for the last 15 years they’ve essentially been performing it for anybody that would listen. Which was nobody. When news broke that the musical was being adapted into a film, they began counting down the days until this Christmas miracle would hit theaters. Read on to find out exactly what Angela, Jackie and Mama Bunt (Rochelle) thought about this epic flick.
ANGELA: I have been obsessed with Les Misérables, the musical based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, since the 6th grade. It was the year that Jackie and I had a math teacher who devoted an entire unit to teaching us the musical, based on life in 19th Century France and all of the miserable people who lived during it (it should be noted that Les Misérables translates to “The Miserable” if that’s any indication of the story’s tone). We instantly became obsessed. This is the only time in my life I have ever gotten an A in math.
JACKIE: I still didnt get an A.
MOM (Rochelle): When I first heard that Les Mis would be released to movie theaters on Christmas Day the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and general holiday depression I had been suffering from slightly lifted. I knew Angela, Jackie and I would be going. We had dreamed this dream since they were in Mr. Murch’s 6th grade class where he mixed math lessons with musical theater. Since my kids are far more theatrical than mathematical the words to Le Mis, Phantom and others found a forever home in their brain while fractions and algebra never did.
ANGELA: I had been home for the holidays about 72 hours and had already witnessed a domestic dispute on the streets of North Adams, drunkenly dropped my iPhone in a toilet, broke it, found a new one for cheap, contracted and was riding out a cold which I had successfully spread to the rest of my family.
MOM (Rochelle): By Christmas I was pretty miserable, and the rest of the family had such awful colds that the most exciting conversation revolved around who had what color phlegm: “If it’s clear, it’s not an infection.” Nevertheless, we headed to the movies.
JACKIE: I was actually just getting into phase one of the sickness at the point. I was sleeping the whole day, and really did not want to leave the house. But, I knew I must for the cause!
ANGELA: Jackie and Mom fought their agoraphobia and we headed to North Adams’ poor excuse for a movie theater. But, it was five dolla’ Tuesdays so I’m not going to complain.
MOM (Rochelle): And I paid.
ANGELA: When the movie began with “Overture / Work Song / Look Down,” performed by a bearded, scraggly and homeless-looking (aka hot) Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, my heart skipped a beat as he lifted that French flag and dragged it through the mud past the glowering Javert (played by Russell Crowe). It’s funny, I always forget that Les Mis is based on a significant event in history, which is the French Revolution. Eh, actually, who cares about the French. I sat back and got ready to enjoy three hours of musical bliss. The only issue I could foresee was controlling myself from singing along. And Jackie’s incessant coughing.
MOM (Rochelle): I love plays, theater, acting, performing and all that kind of thing. I still ask my mother why she didn’t send me to dance, tap, jazz, singing and every other class so I could be on a stage being adored.
JACKIE: Yes, Mom is such a performer. Wait what have you performed in?
ANGELA: Mom once played a prostitute murder victim in the opening scene of a college production of “Jack The Ripper.” Also, Jackie, do you remember that time I flubbed my lines during a school play and you blackmailed me with the recording we had of it?
MOM (Rochelle): I loved this movie. I loved Anne Hathaway singing/acting “I Dreamed a Dream.” It was perfect for my depressed state. ”There are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms you cannot weather.” That’s right Fantine, I feel your pain. Life sucks.
JACKIE: OK, well Mom you dont have it as bad as her, so maybe that should put your life in perspective. You’re not a prostitute, you didn’t get your hair and teeth pulled out. I mean, life could be worse.
ANGELA: I never cared for much for the Fantine storyline, and I never cared much for Anne Hathaway (although I loved her boobs in “Love and Other Drugs.”) But after her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” there was not a dry eye in the row. In all fairness, me, Jackie and Mom were the only people sitting in the row. (JACK: Or dry nose — my cold was really causing drippage at this point. (ANGE: Ew, drippage?))
ANGELA: Hugh Jackman was the star of the show, and his singing and acting throughout the film was seriously amazing. He should definitely definitely definitely get an Oscar for his performance. The Sasha Baron Cohen-Helena Bonham Carter duo acting as grimy innkeepers, The Thénardiers, was spot on and provided some much-needed comic relief, and of course being a huge Eponine fan, I absolutely loved Samantha Barks’ on-screen rendition. (JACK: She was the actress who played Eponine in the Les Mis 25th anniversary special!) Did anybody else notice how tiny her waist is and how big her boobies are? I spent a lot of time in middle school singing “On My Own” to myself in my room after getting rejected at school dances, so that song was a definite highlight.
JACKIE: Eddie Redmayne — who played Marius — is hot, I liked his big monkey mouth. He and Amanda Seyfried (who played Cosette) had great chemistry on screen, and I like to think they are together now in real life. Seyfried has such a great falsetto voice. I should probably watch some Mama Mia!
ANGELA: Russell Crowe was absolutely awful as Javert, the prison guard who either had a gay crush on Jean Valjean, or just really needed to find a hobby. You might be thinking: “Angela, was he really that bad or are you just a ruthless c*nt?” Let me put it this way: every actor at some point in the movie moved me with their performance, no matter how small their role. (Why, Gavroche, WHY!?) But every time Russell Crowe came on the screen he legitimately sapped all of the energy out of the scene. As I described it to my family, “Whenever Russell Crowe started singing I lost my boner.” The entire cast should get Oscars just for carrying his ass through the movie. He even ruined “Stars” which is like, the most epic song ever. And also, I am a ruthless c*nt.
MOM (Rochelle): While there is nothing quite like a live performance, this came close. I dreaded sitting in the theater for over two hours but the time went quickly, and I learned that my dad was right when he used to say that France is dark, rainy and dirty. He was referring to WWll but apparently it was this way all through the French Revolution as well. When did it get pretty? Why do people go there?
JACKIE: The only negative thing I will say is that it was a little long, but you can’t change the story so what are you gonna’ do? I would definitely like to see this again, but in the comfort of my living room so I can sing along loudly and fast forward through songs I don’t care about.
MOM (Rochelle): I’ve been to many (like 30) Broadway shows so I kept wanting to applaud after songs and felt awkward that it was so silent. I mean, these were heart wrenching performances. By the end of the movie when just about every character was dead (woops, spoiler alert) we just went for it and starting our own little standing ovation. As expected the rest of the audience joined in. Suddenly the whole theater came to life. I think we can take some credit for that.
ANGELA: As the audience filed out we just sat there with all of our emotions. I think I heard people talking/laughing about us as they walked by, like, “Those are the weird girls who wouldn’t stop fist pumping during the song ‘Red and Black.’”
MOM (Rochelle): Loved the movie, loved that I saw it with my girls and love that it’s coming back to Broadway in 2014! See you there, NYC.