Singing should have been left behind in Les Miserables


The new movie adaptation of Les Miserables has brought to my attention that I hate musicals.

The acting was great, don’t get me wrong. I really think I would have been a fan of the movie if there was only some occasional actors bursting out in song, but the three hours of non-stop singing did not keep my attention. I went into the theater thinking this was the adaptation of the novel, with some singing added, but I realized too late that it was indeed an adaptation of the musical, meaning, singing, singing, and only singing.

I found it hard to stay focused on the story. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle everytime Russell Crowe, who plays antagonist Javert, started singing. He should stray away from doing any other musicals.

Hugh Jackman, who plays the convict Jean Valjean, really showed what versatile acting skills he has. In my head I kept trying to ignore the idea of Wolverine singing and prancing around. Whenever it his Jackman’s part to sing his lines, the camera is usually front facing and at a close angle, which showed how much emotion went into each verse, but it did get repetitive.

I’ve read “Les Miserables” before and Fantine’s character stood out to me the most. Fantine is played by Anne Hathaway in the film, so I was anxious to see how she would do. Hathaway never fails to entertain. Her singing was actually bearable, and when she was the focus in the movie I was most attentive.

Amanda Seyfried’s angelic face, soft voice, and smooth acting did well in portraying Cosette. She is definitely a perfect match, and I was overall satisfied with the way she portrayed her character.

The comedic relief provided by Cosette’s caretakers, played by Sacha Baron Cohen (most famous for playing Borat), and Helena Bonham Carter (who starts in many Tim Burton films) was phenomenal. The pair made the audience laugh, which was like finally being able to breathe through this long depressing musical. My only wish is again, that they would be able to do something other than sing.

I know Les Miserables is appreciated world wide in the form of a novel and a musical, but this movie should have been the adaptation of the book, and left the singing behind. I was thoroughly impressed by the acting as a whole, but the constant dramatic pauses and awkward transitions into singing had me rolling my eyes by the end of the film.

Bri Thomas
Videographer and West Wind News Editor