Seeing Les Miserables as a Mother

Les Misérables (musical)
Les Misérables (musical) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The musical Les Miserable is a Broadway institution within itself. When people heard they were making Les Mis into a movie, many were excited and concerned about how it would translate to the big screen. What I didn’t expect, however, was how it would feel seeing it for the first time since becoming a mother.

I’ve seen Les Mis performed live three times. Once on Broadway and twice with the touring group. Each performance brought a new level of emotional complexity. Les Mis is not a one-trick pony to say the least. So when my husband and I went to see it in the movie theaters, we were bowled over by the direct pain we felt for these children and their tortured parents.

Before we were parents, we imagined how it would feel to know our child was in peril, to reach the point where we would be willing to sell even our bodies to keep our children safe. But imagining what it would be like and actually understanding the depths of what a parent would do are two completely different things.

As we sat in the dark theater, we experienced the pain Anne Hathaway exuded. The lengths she would go including sacrificing her very soul to keep her child safe. It felt like a dagger in my heart.

When Jean Val Jean sang for the safe passage of the boy who had captured his daughter’s heart, we ached at the thought he was willing to lose his daughter to another man rather than deny her love. That is what parental love is about — doing anything to ensure your child’s welfare and happiness.

Before having children, Les Mis felt like a story about suffering and redemption. But seeing it as a parent, I now understand even through all of the suffering and death, this story shows it is love between friends, family and even strangers that makes life worth living.


  1. Oh this movie is on my list! There are so many good ones out and I have not seen this on the stage either. Sounds like a powerful movie!

    1. thejennyevolution says:

      It’s my favorite musical of all time. (Can you say “band geek”?) But I think it would be a terrific one to go see in the theater rather than wait for watch at home. I just don’t think it would carry the same wonderful impact.

  2. I hadn’t even thought about it like this! Last time i saw Les Mis I, too, was not yet a mother. I was supposed to go see this movie about a week ago, but something came up. My plan was to go see it somewhere next week, but now I’m a little nervous , haha!

    1. No reason to be nervous!!! It just made the movie that much more moving. Bring tissues 🙂

  3. I have not seen Les Mis, but it is on my list and might even go see it in the theater. As a parent you would do anything to ensure your child is safe.

    1. thejennyevolution says:

      It’s a wonderful film — particularly to go see on the big screen. A lot of movies I watch at home but I loved the big sound of the theater for this one.

  4. It amazing how movies, books etc effect you after having children. Heck, everything changes after having kids! LOL Now that I’m a grandmother, things have changed once more. Have a happy weekend.

    1. thejennyevolution says:

      I hadn’t thought about what it must mean to feel as a grandmother! But yes. Everything changes once you have kids. And I imagine it keeps changing as they get older.

  5. I’ve never seen less mis. It seems like a sad movie. I like Anne Hathaway s acting so I might give this one a try

    1. thejennyevolution says:

      Please do give this movie a try. The musical itself is a triumph of human love. And Anne really hits it out of the park in this one!

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