What I Love About Les Misérables (Musical)
Les Misérables is a novel by Victor Hugo and was adapted for musical theatre in 1980. I have never read the book, but I absolutely adore the musical. It has my favorite music from any show or film, followed closely by The Phantom of the Opera, Newsies, and The Sound of Music.
So today I am here to break down my favorite characters from the 2012 film as well as my top 5 favorite songs from Les Mis (because I can't choose just one).
Below are my 3 favorite characters and what I like about them. Of course, there are so many lovable and interesting characters, but these are the ones I especially enjoy watching.
A fan favorite from the start, Eponine is famous for her strength and relatability. What I most appreciate about her, though, is her goodness in the face of adversity. It's inspiring to me that she was raised in a harsh criminal environment by greedy parents, and yet, in adulthood, she is so selfless. She learns what it means to love another person, even if that person doesn't love you back. Eponine's giving spirit and enthusiasm always triumph despite all the terrible things happening around her, and I just love that about her.
Marius Pontmercy is a fun character to watch, mainly because he stands out so much against the rest of the characters. All of his friends are so grounded in reality and the hard truth of life and so very focused on their revolutionary goal, and he, although loyal to his brothers and the cause, is swept away by his own romantic endeavors and becomes very conflicted. His instant love for Cosette is sweet, his friendship with Eponine is heart-wrenching, and the tight bond with his comrades is inspiring. It's always fun to have a character who may not know as much as the rest but is still guided by his good conscience. Hopeless romantics are also always a win.
Gavroche is the feisty little brother we all know and love. He, like young Cosette, is a symbol of the spirit of the story. He is a testament to how a young mind can be molded and can accomplish much more than others might expect. Gavroche also proves that bravery is not limited by size, and neither is conviction. His quick wits and enthusiasm add much to the second half of the film. He completes the very wide range of people we see in Les Misérables - from a hard-hearted inspector to a hopeful young maiden.
"Bravo, little Gavroche! You're the top of the class!"
- Courfeyrac, Les Misérables (2012)
The music of Les Misérables is really what draws me to the story. Every song is full of emotion and perfectly reflects each moment in the plot and in the characters' journeys. There are so many wonderful songs, but I managed to narrow down my top 5 favorites.
"I Dreamed a Dream"
This is probably the most famous song from Les Misérables, and it makes sense. It's a show stopper and a tear-jerker at the same time, and it really summarizes Fantine's character. Once you hear it, it makes you so much more invested in the life of her daughter, because you just hope things will turn out better for Cosette. The song also gives us insight into Fantine's backstory and makes Valjean's promise to her even more impactful.
Javert's first big solo is a great one. I mostly like the song because of how beautiful the melody is. I could sing it over and over. But I think the window into how the inspector's mind works is also very compelling. His whole identity and sense of self-worth rest on his ability to track down Valjean. It's a beautiful song that provides significant character motivation.
"Do You Hear the People Sing?"
This is one of the songs that gets everyone pumped up. They sing it three times through the course of the movie, and it gives me chills every time. The notes are lovely and the lyrics are poignant. It makes you understand what one half of the story is about: the French Revolution. We see on a grander scale how many people really are miserable and ready for change. I especially love the version of it that they sing in the epilogue. It's so powerful.
"On My Own"
A favorite song of many, On My Own is the ultimate friend-zone anthem. Aside from its wide relatability and beautiful melody, the song also really makes us want to root for Eponine. We understand how deeply she loves Marius and how she uses that love to get through everyday life. The lyrics are spot-on for a girl who knows much of the world and has plenty of friends and acquaintances yet still feels perpetually alone. We get you, Eponine.
"One Day More"
My favorite song from Les Mis is One Day More. I just love how they combine so many different melodies to create this masterpiece. Nearly every character has something to say, and they're all in anticipation of what this next pivotal day will bring. Each one is facing their own struggles, and many are making hard decisions. It's all in culmination; everything that has happened to the characters so far has led up to this moment. I love how they set up all their stories and then take this moment to recap where we are in the plot. It gets you so excited to see what will happen next. Everyone is preparing because somehow they know that once tomorrow comes, nothing will ever be the same.
So these are my favorite songs from the show (really some of my favorite songs of all time)! Here are some honorable mentions: In My Life, Red and Black, Suddenly, and A Heart Full of Love.
To conclude, I'd just like to say that I love Les Misérables. It's so iconic and heartfelt. With an amazing story, great characters, and even greater music, it's no wonder that so many people cherish it. Let us know in the comments which song is your favorite!
If you want to buy the full soundtrack, head over here.