When I first saw her sitting in that dank, dark place with her hair shorn, in the shadow of the guillotine, with those notes and words surging up from a bottomless pit of fear, terror, lost hope, it hit my heart with the impact of a physical blow.
I’ve watched the trailer over and over of the newest adaptation of Les Miserables, to be released this December. If the movie lives up to the promise of the trailer, I can’t wait. I cannot get enough of seeing and hearing Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed A Dream”. I had to check out some sites to find out if she actually sang the song.
I’m a big Anne Hathaway fan because she’s played in so many of my favorite movies, but I’m not one of those diehards who is obsessed with knowing everything about an actor. My online research turned up, not only the fact that she sang the song, but that she sang it live, not lip-synced. All the songs were filmed live.
But what to my surprise, among the clutter that crops up in such searches, I found that fans of the classic musical of “Les Miserables” Twitter-blasted her, calling her singing, (and I quote), “weak”, “unsettling”, “scary”. (MSN). And what to my further surprise — I agreed with the adjectives. But for entirely different reasons.
Weak — she is abused, starved, terrorized – the singing reflects it. She is not only singing, she is channeling the character and her situation.
Unsettling — to say the least. Anyone who isn’t unsettled hasn’t lived in life’s trenches.
Scary — absolutely. Every fear known to man is wrapped up in it — fear of the dark, fear of the darkness, fear of the known and the unknown, fear of death, fear for those left behind. Scary? You think?
Continuing the research, we (Mike and I), checked out some of the classical singers. Beautiful? — Check. Perfect?– Check. The impact? — No.
I’ll give you another example. Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Phantom of the Opera” and Gerard Butler. He took a lot of criticism because he wasn’t a life-long trained classical singer. I like him better — his voice rough rather than smooth — singing his pain, singing the darkness of his thoughts and soul; grabbing hold, like a drowning man, of the only light in the dungeon of his life, dragging her down. The voice brings it all to me. Chills me.
Les Miserables 2012, with its theme “I Dreamed A Dream” set in The Terror that was France, needed a voice to take us there. We got it.