I caught an early screening on Les Misérables last night, and while I’m forbidden from publicly expressing my opinions about the film until December 11, it did remind me of something I’ve known for a long time. In this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, there are only two kinds of people: those who want to be Cosette, and those who want to be Éponine. And it should be obvious which team I’m on.
Look, Cosette is the worrrrrst. I mean, she’s pretty and all, and she sings like a beautiful bird or WHATEVER, and Marius falls in love with her instantly, blah blah blah. But she’s also cooped up with her weirdo surrogate father, and her mother was a consumptive French prostitute. She doesn’t even get a song all to herself! Well, I guess she does technically, but "Castle on a Cloud" sucks and it doesn’t really count because it’s Young Cosette who sings it, and nobody wants to be the girl who’s stuck sweeping up after the owners of a French inn and stumbling through the dark woods to fetch water from the well. Yeah, she’s the adorable face of the musical, but I am willing to bet a lot of money that she also has an adorable tapeworm, too. Adult Cosette, who just kinda stands around wearing ruffles and doilies, only gets to sing with other people, and one of them is in a trio with Marius and Éponine, who is our true hero.
Éponine, Éponine, Éponine. Is there anyone more tragic in musical theater or literature? Nope! Probably not! First of all, she has that unfortunate name: Éponine Thénardier. Woof, you guys. She really had the cards stacked up against her from the beginning, being the daughter of the terrible French innkeepers. Always the victim of irony, Éponine was pampered as a child, but then she grows up and becomes just some poor little street rat while her father digs through the Parisian sewers, prying gold teeth out of dead people. And in the eyes of Marius, that doof, she’s just a friend, because he’s too infatuated with Cosette, the boring blonde who can’t even leave her house. (The one silver lining: that jaunty cap!)
What does Cosette do besides look pretty? She certainly doesn’t get herself shot in order to protect the man she loves unconditionally and unrequitedly. And she definitely doesn’t get to sing the one song that every musical theater nerd secretly sings alone while crying alone in his or her bed, desperately hoping for high school to be over already. Those kids know about love and loss, and so does Éponine.
Basically what I’m saying is this: screw your Team Edwards and your Team Jacobs, because when it comes right down to it you’re either a Cosette or an Éponine, and if you choose the former, I can’t trust you. Not even you, Amanda Seyfried.
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