Years ago, we unwittingly started a family tradition of going to the movies on Christmas Day. I still am not a big fan of making others work on the Lord’s birthday, but somehow, when faced with the choice of the general malaise that sets in from a day of gift-giving and overeating, it seemed appropriate to once again round everyone up this year, and head off to the movie theatre. In years past, we have seen some great movies: Pearl Harbor, Sherlock Holmes, War Horse, and this year we saw Les Misérables, at Regal Cinemas at Potomac Yard, near Old Town. While it did take some encouragement to convince some of our menfolk they would enjoy a movie that is all music and lyrics, I am proud to announce, that our family can now boast of having true Renaissance men.
I had been looking forward to this debut for quite some time after watching movie trailers, showing the star-studded cast of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crow, and Anne Hathaway, just to name a few. Most of the actors in the film, I would never have expected to see in a musical adaptation of this story. The cast, combined with the beautiful lyrics and haunting melodies, AND intriguing story, was too much to resist. But, when my youngest son said he flat out refused to see a musical, and stated he did not like movies “that bust out in song spontaneously”, it became apparent “thems was fightin’ words” for his sister. My daughter, who became involved in the performing arts very early in middle school, often states that reason she was in drama, was because she was a military brat and could not stay in school long enough to earn her “stripes” for acceptance onto the cheerleading team. She also cannot understand how her two grown brothers, who were raised in the same household, and brought up on the likes of musicals like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, State Fair, and Sound of Music, could ever say they did not want to see such a famous story. But, when my older son graciously suggested they would not have to go to this type of movie too often because Hollywood does not produce that many musicals, my younger son agreed to go. Their father, always an intelligent man, had already stated he was willing to go along, in order to keep his wife, daughter, and mother happy on Christmas Day.
As we all were seated in our long row of comfy movie theatre seats, eating our shared tub of buttered popcorn, we sat back in anticipation (and dread as far as the boys were concerned) for the long awaited story to unfold. For the next two and half hours, I sat mesmerized not only by the wonderful story unfolding on the screen, but also, the look of pure enjoyment on my sons faces, as they became in engrossed in the great performances, cinematography, and most of all, fantastic music “busting” out the entire length of the movie. They appreciated the life lessons, the author; Victor Hugo had to share in his story of pain and revenge, and the rebirth we experience when we are granted and in turn grant, grace and mercy. A story written one hundred and fifty years ago helped broaden my son’s minds and intellect this 2012 Christmas day, and made them anything but, Les Misérables. What a great way to look forward to the New Year, by reflecting on the good we were granted, in the year we just lived! Happy New Year, to you and yours, and take your sons to a musical!