Just What The Doctor Ordered! (If The Doctor Hated Me.)

Do you know what is recommended when you have a case of The Sads? Besides tons of supportive and helpful comments on a blog entry written about having The Sads? Going and see a movie whose title translated to english basically means “The Sad People”! It’s a recipe for laughter and joy!

Or…you may walk out of the theater wanting to crawl in a hole and sob to death.

Guess how it made ME feel! Let’s put it this way – while I was feeling better after all of your advice and support – I was still feeling very shitty. But compared to how I felt after the movie? I had been feeling TOP OF THE WORLD.


(I do mention one character death, if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading. Except – since the movie is called “The Miserables” – it should come as no surprise that ALMOST EVERYONE DIES.)

So, I knew the movie would be sad and I don’t ever go see sad movies. But E really wanted to take me to see it and I don’t ever turn down a request from him for us to do things together. If you have teenagers? You understand how rare that is. YOU DON’T SAY ‘NO’ TO THEM.

And it was sad, of course! But – Did I know the end of the movie would basically be a girl sobbing as she said goodbye to her wonderful Daddy as he died while her dead Mom’s ghost sang him into that death? OH MY GOD. Are you serious? I was still on the verge of tears an hour after the movie was over. HER DADDY!!! HE DIED!!! I could have been having the happiest day of my life moments before that scene and I still would have lost it.


It was good, though. If you don’t mind feeling like your heart was ripped out of your chest and run over by a bus. I have no skillset or knowledge that will allow me to critique the movie’s musical performances, I have never seen the stage show, or even listened to the cast recordings or concerts. But as a movie? It was beautifully tragic and made me feel all the feels. I’m really, really glad I saw it. That kind of cinematic experience is rare and I’m very glad my kid is cool enough to force me to go see it.

But – I never want to see it again.


Have you seen it? What are your thoughts? Did your heart survive?


  • Jess

    Oh! I guess if you had never seen the stage show it would be quite a shockingly tragic movie. I knew the story from the stage show and found the movie way grittier and raw. You can just do so much more visually in a movie. But I loved it. And isn’t there a bit of uplifting-ness to the story? “to love another person is to see the face of god?” I know my perspective is skewed because I knew the story beforehand, but I think Jean Valjean is so hopeful! He changed, he became successful, and raised Cosette and then Marius became her family. sigh. I’m glad you liked it though.

  • Katie

    I only had a vague idea of the story line as I have never seen the musical or show. I really have no desire to see the movie either. I thoughy I was the only person I know who wasn’t wanting to go see it.

  • annettek

    I didn’t really want to see it, and now that you’ve mentioned that bit about the dad – well hell no. My father died 2 years ago. I don’t think I could sit through that, so thanks for the warning!

  • Heather

    I just saw it this weekend (I was disappointed not to see it sooner to release). I knew the story from seeing it a couple of times in the 90s but intentionally didn’t brush up on it before I went.

    It was crushing (moreso than the stage productions), and some parts (cough Russell Crowe cough) were so underplayed they were distracting. I was sad for the rest of the day and I’ve been thinking about it all week but I am glad that I went.

    What was E’s take on it (besides, I assume, wanting to play Valjean – because really, who doesn’t?)?

  • Susan

    I heard it was three hours of singing, and as much as I really really want to enjoy that, I just can’t. Movie musicals aren’t my thing apparently. Now, tv shows about glee clubs? I can get behind those : )

  • Therese

    I was familiar with the music and the broadway production so I did know the story line and what to expect. I find that I can handle those sorts of things better if I know they are coming. I can see how if you weren’t prepared for it that would be a really shocking/extra sad movie. Because I was familiar and therefore slightly more emotionally prepared, I was able to deal. I did cry because, come on, it’s a moving and sad movie but it didn’t send me into the depths of despair as it might have. I normally avoid sad shows and movies for the reasons you stated. I love the music from Les Mis so much that I was willing to handle the sad to see it.

  • Tina

    I’ve seen the musical twice with my husband, so I didn’t really want to see the movie, since I knew the plot and knew it’d be sad. But I really enjoyed it, it was amazing to see it so close and such sweeping photography (cinematography?). And I had the music in my head for the last two weeks. I guess I finally “got it”, even after seeing in 2x, and I’m a bit embarrassed it took that long. Maybe its just harder to follow on stage?

  • Tamara

    I saw it this week- with no prior ‘stage’ exposure and only a vague idea of the storyline. I was prepared for some deaths, but others shocked me. As for the crying, I did a little, but was too numb from another issue to really ‘feel’ the feeling (though I have literally bawled at other movies so I have it in me)

    I do want to see it on stage now though- just because I usually find live performance more stirring than movies.

  • Jen

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but please please please for the love of all things and cheese, find a traveling Broadway production of the show and GO SEE IT. For real. I saw it a few times as a teenager and went again to one last year…usually I’m anti change for MAH SHOWS, but the technology they are using for the stage production now is OUTSTANDING. Go. Travel if you must. I’ll wait. Or I’ll even meet you there, that’s how much I love it.

  • stephanie - bzmomma

    I went to see the Broadway show in the 1991 as our 8th grade class trip (ok, I just aged myself). I remember it was sad. I remember tearing up and sniffling and my girlfriends and I passing tissue packets around. I remember I couldn’t stop singing “On My Own” and “I Dreamed a Dream” for months. I remember the songs and the premise of the whole story, but I don’t think I can handle watching the movie now. Being sad in 8th grade vs. being sad now – with all it’s cinematic glory – is probably going to be 20 years, I mean 20 times more intense.

  • LizScott

    a) The reasoning you give above for why you went to the movie is the SAME REASON EXACTLY for how I ended up at Breaking Dawn. Stepdaughter wants to go do something? YES I WILL BE RIGHT THERE

    b) I went to see Les Mis WITH MY DAD. We were a mess by the end. A MESS

  • Janet

    I loved it and yes it was sad…but uplifting in ways, at the same time! The only part I didn’t like was the innkeeper and his wife…felt like those two were just reusing characters from other movies, if you know what I mean. And that part was my favorite in the play LOL!

  • valeta

    I really really want to see it. I really love musicals.

    Something about seeing/reading super sad stories makes me appreciate my comfy life soo much more.

    I watched the 1998 version with Liam Neeson and Claire Danes that is not a musical last night. I cried. Then I wanted to hug everyone forever.

  • Melizzard

    I have absolutely no capacity for any more sad or terrible in life right now so I’ve been actively avoiding it. This problem has also effected my reading habits.. in an effort to avoid anything gut wrenching I’ve fallen back into a nasty teenage habit – romance novels. (also Michael J Fox movies)

  • Jennifer B

    I saw it with my 17 daughter who has done I Dreamed a Dream for a couple talent shows during her school years. Didn’t know much of the story but like many of the actors so I was looking forward to seeing it. LOVED IT. Yes I cried. A lot. I purchased the soundtrack, and it can make me tear up. I thought Anne was fabulous. We are going to see it again and would love to see it on stage – although up here in Alaska we don’t get a whole lot of shows…we’ve seen the Lion King and Spamalot so maybe one day…

  • Sherry

    My 12 year old son watched the DVD of the stage version in school and wanted to go see it, so we did. I was vaguely aware of some of it and yes, there was a lot of crying (not just me, but the whole theater had the sniffles). Empty Chairs and Empty Tables was one of the saddest songs. My dad won’t be with us much longer so it may be a long while before I can stand to see it again.

  • Heather

    I’ve seen the stage show, but not the film (yet). It was incredible…
    There’s a quote from the book, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

  • Dilovely

    I became familiar with the soundtrack when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with it. By the time I saw the stage play (2x? 3x?) I was well aware of what all the sad things would be. Of course I still cried.

    The really eye-opening part was reading the book (I’m a French major and decided reading Les Mis in French was my Everest). Honestly, it made the musical seem almost shallow. It’s an incredible book – Victor Hugo is a genius. I cried many times, but love love loved it more than I can describe. Because there is SO much love in the book.

    I can hardly wait to see the movie and cry some more and feel more love. (But so far my daughter will ONLY eat from the boob, so… I’m not sure when that will happen. Sigh.)

  • Stacey

    first time I saw it was on stage, it didn’t really impact me that much. I didn’t cry during it, the acting/singers must have not really done a great job (this was back in High School so 1990?) I have seen it on stage since then and have cried a little. I can listen to a cast recording of it and cry a bit during certain songs. The first time I saw the movie, I bawled. I mean BAWLED. It was kind of embarrassing. I was by myself. The second time I took my beau, I didn’t cry, I did tear up but not like the first time. I have listen to the recording of the movie since then and have teared up. I plan on seeing the movie again. and again. and again. I think having a good cry is good for the soul, I will often put in Steel Magnolias when I need that good cry (and a good laugh)…….

  • Brian

    Late to the party (but fashionably so), but I have to add – I saw the movie with only a vague idea of what the story line was. I think seeing the movie may have ruined ever seeing it live on stage now. What can compare with the imagery in the movie? And? I knew it was a musical, but to have MAYBE 20 words that weren’t sung to a script? Opera, all the way. Still, really enjoyed the experience and was just awestruck at the depth of the story.