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Will Les Miserables Tear This Couple Apart?
Our writer dreams a dream of making her boyfriend like musical theater.
By EJ Dickson
I am an enormous musical-theater person. My boyfriend of four-and-a-half years, Alex, is not. He doesn't know the difference between Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz (though he does know that one of them reportedly has a sex dungeon in his basement). He thinks Rodgers and Hammerstein is one person. And while he can deliver a rousing, note-perfect rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone," he does not know it as the second-act showstopper from Carousel, but as the song that Liverpool FC supporters sing before home games at Anfield.
Although I love musicals, I don't really try to foist this interest on Alex: all I ask is that every once in a while, he accompanies me to a summer stock production of Guys and Dolls, or lets me put Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Spotify while we're having sex. Yet for Les Miserables, I made an exception, demanding that he see the movie with me on opening night. I pretty much expected him to loathe it with every fiber of his being. Yet after the credits rolled, I was surprised to hear him whistling "Master of the House" as we left the theater. Could it be that Les Mis converted my boyfriend into a jazz-hands-waving theater freak?, I wondered. I decided to interrogate him to find out.
E: So you liked it?
A: I liked it, yes.
E: I can't believe you liked it! I'm so surprised.
A: I know, I'm surprised too. I was bracing myself for the worst.
E: Why is that?
A: Because of what you told me about it. That it was sung all the way through. That neither Amanda Seyfried nor Anne Hathaway got naked in it. When you told me that I was like, "Why are we seeing this movie?" But I'm glad we did.
E: Because the kinds of movies you generally prefer are, like...
A: Taken, Taken 2, The Grey. Pretty much anything with Liam Neeson killing people...
E: In The Grey he doesn't kill people. He kills wolves.
A: ...and musicals are generally not on my list — the melodrama, the taking of serious moments and turning them into song-and-dance. But I kind of overcame that seeing this movie.
E: I'm so happy you liked it. I looooved it. But they would've had to seriously fuck it up for me not to have loved it. I've loved it since I saw it on Broadway for the first time, when I was like, nine, and immediately after the first act I made my grandmother buy me a "24601" T-shirt at the souvenir kiosk and I wore it to bed every night at summer camp.
A: Really? You're cool.
E: I still have that shirt somewhere. I'm going to find it and bedazzle it and crop it and slut it up and wear it out with you at parties.
A: I would hate that. Please don't do that.
E: I might. I guess we should start talking about Anne Hathaway, because that was the biggest selling point to get you to see this with me.
A: Yes, she's tremendously hot. And she was hot in this.
E: Even though she was bald and destitute and tuberculosis-y?
A: Well, they obviously tried to make her look like shit, but there's only so much they could do because she's Anne Hathaway. Her boobs looked wonderful in that corset thing. I was waiting for them to spill out the whole time, but that didn't happen, sadly.
E: I've seen them before, though.
A: What? You've seen them? How?
E: Alex, we've had this conversation, like, four times. Every time, I've Google-image-searched her tits for you, and every time, you talk about how great they are.
A: I remember now. But I may need to refresh my memory again at some point.
E: Did you like her voice in "I Dreamed a Dream?" Should I even ask?
A: No, I wasn't really listening. But seriously, I thought she did an adequate job, but that song seems very vocally demanding and she wasn't quite strong enough a singer to really pull it off.
E: Yeah, that's basically what I thought. That song is such a musical-theater standard that you really have to raise the bar and bring something new to it, and she didn't quite do that. I feel like I saw fourteen-year old Fantines at theater camp that blew her out of the water.
A: I'm sure. But like I said, she could've burped the whole song and I wouldn't have cared.
E: What about Amanda Seyfried? I know you're a big Amanda Seyfried fan, but she reminds me of those American Girl dolls I had when I was little and I just want to brush her hair and dress her in a frilly Victorian nightgown.
A: She's really hot, but the love scenes with her and Marius made me want to vomit a little. The love-at-first-sight thing — it's such an enormous cliché.
NEXT: "You don't believe in that? You don't think we fell in love at first sight?"