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As a musical one needs to have musical people. Russell Crowe is pathetic as a singer, he is a would be try hard, have a go sort of mug, and brings down the production to the point of amateur, which is clearly what he is in singing, nothing more,(you tube Norm Lewis). Crowe has nominal screen appeal in this movie, his solo is nothing less than ham. Russell Crowe is a cut below everyone else, and an indication of how much influence his profile had on his getting the role, other than talent. Most guys could pull of a better performance than him, given the backing, and I know a lot of guys that could sing a lot better, he is a joke. Jackman did a great job, his singing was good too, surprisingly, and the female leads are often superb, but Crowe is woeful in his mighty lead, there would have been tens of thousands of male leads that would have shat all over his gig here, sick. Its truly his singing alone that brings the movie down. He took a major lead for a singer when he is not one. He has no voice, Crowe is known for his grumbling speaking voice, its not possible for such a voice to become a baritone overnight, Looserville.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rented this and, as a lifelong fan of the musical who has grown up
with productions and recordings, I tried to keep my expectations in
check and my mind open. But, wow... I really found myself struggling to
make it all the way through.
The sets and costumes and staging were, of course, spectacular as only film can deliver. And there were some fine performers and interesting acting choices. So, maybe the director decided that the singing should be third priority behind these things? Les Miserables can be done well as a straight-ahead non-musical movie. But the *musical theatre version* cannot be staged well without the music taking centre stage; without it, what's left is really just a thin melodrama. And the fact is that the singing in this production -- at least from some of the key leads -- is on balance quite shockingly bad.
You may have gone in already knowing this about Russell Crowe; I had wondered if the Onion piece lampooning him as "completely disappearing into the role of a man who cannot sing or act" was being over-harsh, but it isn't. I was disagreeably surprised, though, to find it also true of Hugh Jackman, who is supposed to come from a musical background and yet whose awful, almost comically nasal rendition of Valjean set my teeth on edge constantly. Other great, juicy arias of the musical are criminally underserved and under-sung by such otherwise fine talents as Helena Bonham Carter (and whoever that guy is who's failing to play Thenardier) and Amanda Seyfried (who actually has a good voice but seems to have been directed to swallow half the notes).
Granted, it's not all awful. Anne Hathaway swallows half the notes of Fantine's great arias too, for instance, but at least she does it in service of selling the character's death by consumption. Eponine is excellent, and of course, the best-known Valjean of all time appears in a cameo as the Bishop... and serves up a shining moment of the aural richness that the musical is usually known for.
But those few bright spots don't quite rescue what look to me to be fundamentally misguided direction and production decisions. Impressive spectacle though it is, it's not as impressive as it should be as a musical, and I'm glad I didn't pay to see this in the theatre, as I was tempted to do.
I really had high hopes for this movie, especially since it won Best
Picture at the Oscars. Best picture, WTF?? This movie is horrible. I
barely made it through 40 minutes before I popped the DVD out. And what
was up with all that singing, especially if the actor could not hold a
When I think of musicals, I think of the King and I; Singing in the Rain; Westside Story, etc....real musicals, not this dribble. The 1998 version starring Liam Neesom and Uma Thurman was much, much better.
The 1998 movie was quite enjoyable. But this crap was beyond awful. I am so happy that I did not go to the movies to see this garbage and waste $10 on it....wasting the $3 that I spent to rent the DVD was bad enough. Wow, what a stinker!! If you value your sanity and want to spare your delicate ears from high pitched screeching, do not see this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie had real potential, I mean it's Tom Hooper, the director of
King's Speech! I always thought that the book was something for the
screens, not the Bright Light Way, but this movie was as bad as the
In an overall synopsis of the story, Jean Valjean has just skipped his bail, and is now covering his tracks as the manager of a sewing company. Employee Fantine is fired, and is forced into prostitution, to keep herself and new daughter alive. But after her death, Jean takes her daughter under his wing, at the same time, being pursued by officer Javert.
Not one bit of talking! It is all song, dance, and no talking. The movie was enjoyable, but I somehow didn't appeal to it. I found it very slow at some points, and at others, too fast when it had to be slow.
Now, I must rate the film, I sadly give the film a 6.5 ticket stub out of ten.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Do you hear the people sing? I certainly did in this fantastic
theatrical adaption of the beloved musical, Les Miserables. The story
of an ex-convict (Hugh Jackman in a powerful performance) trying to
escape his past by breaking parole, but with an obsessed lawman
(Russell Crowe, menacing, but excellent performance)on his trail to
capture him. To round out the spectacular cast is the performance of
Anne Hathaway as the unfortunate Fantaine, who dreamed of a better life
but was stolen from her. The rest of the cast includes Amanda Seyfried
as Fantaine's daughter, Cosette who is raised by Jackman after her
mother's death, Eddie Redmayne as young student Marius who falls in
love with Cosette and new-comer Samantha Barks as the faithful, loyal
The singing is beyond compare of any musical film of the decade. Hathaway's tearful rendition of the famous 'I Dreamed a Dream' is so heart-breaking as we watch her descend into her private hell. Barks's performance of the sorrowful ballad 'On My Own' rivals any past performance as she walks down the rainy streets of Paris on the eve of the student revolution. The greatest addition to this list of classic is the recently Oscar-nominated 'Suddenly' written for Hugh Jackman by the musical's original composer. Jackman's beautiful tenor voice sings this song to the young Cosette (Isabelle Allen as a child) as he takes her away to safety, promising he will always protect her.
If you have not yet seen this masterpiece, then to arms and go forth.
Having only seen one previous film version (1935ish), I am delighted to report this version is enthralling and moving! Plan to bring Kleenex!! My husband has had no experience with either book or film version and had only a mild problem with following the story line. If anyone is planning to go without any previous experience with this story -such as my husband- my suggestion is to allow the story to lead and the main story line will make sense! Music is extraordinarily moving, actors portray the emotions of the specific scenes exquisitely and the background scenery allows the one viewing the film to feel and be involved! So many times background scenes maim or injure the believability of the film, but this movie background does NOT!! I was so engrossed in the film, I found myself leaning forward and having lost all tract of time!!
"Les Mis" was anything but miserable! From the opening note to the credit line the Acting was an impeccably forceful, gritty, masterpiece. Not that screen actors would present, or even mostly possess, the illustrious vocal prowess of many, many famed stage performances of this; however, the raw, emotional, realness of these vocal performances propelled the characters to highest rarely seen in any venue. The only peculiar vocal performance, obviously, was that of Russell Crowe, who gave the biggest risk to his celebrity and popularity. In my opinion, however, he will have grown tremendously in his further acting for the enormous amount of emotional fortitude this role required, and also to have had to sing directly into Hugh's face most of the time. The endeavor will outweigh the performance. Hugh...Hugh, Hugh, Hugh. What rare, magnanimous, awe you have inspired. This is your moment that will pale the rest of your career. The scarcity of this level of perfection is extreme, and you have achieved such. This is what the purity of entertainment and acting is about. Anne, your multitudes continue to change and amaze viewer's imaginations. A short but powerful statement. Amanda Seyfried provided a needed sweetness and charm and Eddie Redmayne showed both his vocal power and deep emotional nuance. Samantha Barks performance was particularly moving also. New fav duo SBC and HBC tickled the dark and sarcastic, comical child in those of us that always love them for it, as they commonly do. This film can be summarized by three main points: a beautiful artistic vision, viciously bold directing, and irreligiously brilliant acting. Not a must see, but a must experience film.
The transition from stage to screen is never an easy one for any musical let alone one which is not simply a musical but a modern opera that continues to delight audiences all over the world. Tom Hooper faced this challenge head on and in a risky move, stuck to the show's sung through format and only rarely do the actors employ spoken dialogue. Is there a place for the sung through musical on the big screen? If It is done properly, then yes and that is what makes the movie of Les Miserables a milestone, not the live singing. Much has been said of Anne Hathaway's take on the consumptive prostitute, Fantine, and her version of I dreamed a dream stands out not only because the actress plays the part so well but also because the orchestrations have been stripped to what at times, makes the song sound like a chamber piece but it works so well and you will be forgiven for shedding a few tears. Hugh Jackman delivers a captivating performance as Jean Valjean and the young leads of Cosette, Eponine and Marius are beautifully interpreted by Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne, whose Empty chairs at empty tables will no doubt leave some of you reaching for your hankies again. Yet another stand out performance comes from Aaron Tveit as Enjolras who leads a highly competent set of 'Barricade boys'. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were fittingly cast as the Thenardiers and I laughed during their scenes. The role of Gavroche has been expanded slightly and offers a chance to pay homage to Oliver. That now leaves us with Russell Crowe who appears to be going somewhere with his take on Javert though a sense of frustration over never catching Valjean, is something that could have been worked on and without giving too much away, one might want a bit more anguish leading up to that certain climactic moment. I will however give him credit for giving what I think is a nice rendition of Stars and the confrontation scene is done really well. Voice wise, he's not brilliant but far from awful. On the technical side of things, the IMAX experience of Les Miserables is fantastic and the sound engineers did a superb job of mixing the live vocals with the orchestra in post- production. For those of you who are as nerdy as me, the orchestrations are mainly new, intimate at times and big when necessary. At points they sound more like the ones used for the 25th anniversary concert, in particular during One day more. The synthesisers, bass and electric guitars as well as the drum kit are nowhere to be heard. The costumes are realistic and come across nicely on screen and the CGI added a certain dreamlike quality, taking in the best of what Moulin Rouge and Sweeney Todd had to offer though don't always expect a still camera but do expect some nice vistas. There were moments where I thought a song was edited too much and therefore rushing the narrative a bit and with the film running at more than two and a half hours, a few more minutes wouldn't have killed anyone. We shall see if there will be an extended blu-ray edition. All in all this is a film which I highly recommend and while it is not perfect, the good outshines the bad and most importantly, it touches you as much as the stage production. For all the fans out there, the parts that made you cry in the theatre will make you cry in the cinema and for the uninitiated, you will see why Les Miserables has become the success it is and you will certainly connect with at least one of those iconic characters. I give this film 8/10 Well done Tom Hooper and cast!
After finishing for the second time, my feeling is like being marooned in the nineteenth century-France by the elegance of Les Miserables. English Literature student, Tom Hooper made an accomplishing task to choose and direct the eminent novel Les Miserables. He perfectly transformed the story into the musical narratives with bravery. Two Aussies, Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe were as always splendid in their roles---protagonist Jean Valjean and antagonist Javert. Especially as Hugh's magnitude of acting was too grand; it must be the 2nd mightiest leading characters in 2012 after Daniel Day Lewis. Anna Hathaway, in her little but the most catchy-tragic appearance, won all hearts and emotions and would win surely the Oscar in best supporting female role too :p Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter also glowed to render comical relief brilliantly :p Amanda Seyfried and Eddie were just pitch- okay with their performances. The cinematography, OSTz, costumes, society of that period, French Revolution setting----all came as well- crafted. In my notion, if Oscar were not biased with the American sentiments around "Lincoln", Les Miserables would score Oscar as the ace-flick :p
Absolute priority - take a very big hankie. This screen version captures an intensity of emotion that I feel is impossible with the stage version, simply because you feel you are there, sharing all the experiences, which you cannot do seated in a theatre. Anne Hathaway's rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' is breathtaking and heartbreaking in its emotion as is Eddie Redmayne's of 'Empty Chairs'. There were two elements that for me did not work: the 'Master of the House' scene was not as raucous and rumbustious as seen on stage (twice)-it involved too many customers and therefore the interplay between 'Master' & Mistress'did not come across as effectively, plus I was not taken with Amanda Seyfried's singing voice - reminded me of the type of voice one would hear in a 30's/40's musical film. Although Russell Crowe's voice was not as strong as some may have liked, for me it reflected a character that was damaged and vulnerable and it worked. And for those wondering if Hugh Jackman could make 'Bring Him Home' work - a resounding Yes ! I left the cinema feeling that I had fought on the barricades, suffered alongside a brave man (Jean Valjean), cried over the unrequited love of Eponine, had a flickering of compassion for Javert and all to the background of wonderful overpowering music. And you wonder why I recommended a big hankie !
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