Monday, March 4, 2013

Those Miserables adults

When Les Miserables was finally released as PG-13, we brought the whole family to catch it at the cinema. Les Miz has long been Kenneth's and my favourite musical since we enjoyed it on West End many years ago.

The movie didn't disappoint (except for Russell Crowe who was like a wooden American Idol contestant trying not to get his notes wrong).  As for Anne Hathaway, gosh. She really lived up to the hype. That voice, those eyes and the gut-wrenching emotion - totally deserves her Oscar.

Anyway, I emerged from the movie theatre, red-eyed and heart-wrung.  A few days later, my friend Lilian asked me at which parts my kids cried cos her teenage son Brian remained stoic while she wept throughout. Upon questioning my kids, I was absolutely floored when both of them replied they didn't shed a single tear! Lesley-Anne said she felt touched at many parts but not enough to cry.  In fact, Andre looked at me astonished and said, "hah? you mean you actually cried?"

Not weep even for poor Fantine? Thou art heartless souls!

I was grumbling about how emotionless my kids were to another friend when she offered an alternative explanation - kids tend to be less moved by movies/books because they have had limited life experience and therefore can less identify with human situations, especially adult ones.  She recalled how when she was young, her mum would sob uncontrollably over some tv drama while she and her brother would cringe as they passed her a box of tissue.  Now, my friend's the one who blubbers in front of the tv!

Orrnnhhhh.  It makes sense. I remember in my first job, there was only one married-with-kids colleague in my department.  Ever so often, she would bring up some news article of kids being killed in accidents or dying of illnesses with horror and tears in her eyes while the rest of us would look nonplussed and think, "yeah, it's sad but so are lots of other tragedies in the world."

It's only when I became a parent myself that I fully understood the extent of her feelings.  In other words, when adults watch Les Miz, we absorb the full emotional onslaught in relation to our knowledge and experience of life, whereas for our kids, it's probably just another sad story of emo, dysfunctional adults who can burst into song at perfect pitch even when they're dying.

So my kids are not heartless afterall. Phew.


Anonymous said...

My then 14year old son, who never wept during movies while I did, finally did so while watching les miz. I think there were 2 major factors. He has been a huge fan of the music from les miz, and he has also been a huge fan of Anne Hathaway since watching her play the role of princess of Genovia. When the film premiered end of dec last year, he was utterly disappointed at the nc16 rating which I thought was silly cos it was rated just pg13 in the usa. So trusting tt he is mature enough to watch it, we strutted into the cineplex confidently. No one checked for age proof.

monlim said...

Yeah, the NC16 rating was quite harsh and we would have brought L-A to watch it regardless. However, there's no way Andre could have passed for 16 and he would have been very miffed to be left out! Thankfully they re-released it. I think there were barely any cuts to the original for the PG13 version anyway.

Lilian said...

I think I've been crying at movies since a kid leh. Esp those Taiwanese movies with Lin Fong Chiao and Chin Han. So really our kids are just heartless hahahaha. It's funny what Andre said! I can just imagine his astonishment :D

monlim said...

Lilian: Haha, don't dash my hopes leh. Andre's expression was really funny, considering he's such an emotional boy in real life!

I remember when I was about 6, my aunt brought me to watch Jaws. I wasn't scared at all until she kept trying to cover my eyes and said, "don't watch this part! very scary!" At which point I started to think, oh this must be terrifying. So maybe kids do learn from adults what's scary/sad in movies, lol!

elan said...

My favourite musical of all time too. I've watched it 4 times (and wept each time) but still haven't watched the film yet.
The songs from the musical are the only ones I actually know the words (other than campfire songs and church hymns)!
Must bring my sons to watch and will tell you if they weep.

monlim said...

elan: If you love the musical, then all the more must watch the movie! Really great adaptation, lives up to its hype.

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