My Thoughts on Les Misérables

Les MiserablesLes Misérables is notable for being the first of the few musicals I’ve seen on stage.  As such, I was somewhat curious in seeing this new film adaptation directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech).  The film stars Hugh Jackman as ex-convict Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as the determined Inspector Javert, Anne Hathaway as the tragic Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Fantine’s daughter Cosette, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the comically villainous Thénardiers.  The film also features some appearances by actors who appeared in the stage musical, such as Colm Wilkinson and Samantha Barks. In many ways, Les Misérables seemed more like a stage musical as a film, than a film adaptation of a stage musical.  There is a very theatrical feel to this film, which I do admit is a bit jarring at times, especially when characters sing looking directly into the camera.  Also, the film uses real on-set singing, as opposed to lip-syncing pre-recorded songs.  As such, the weaknesses in each of the actor’s singing abilities is quite apparent.  Despite having a side-career as a rock singer, Russell Crowe stands out as being the least capable singer of the lead actors, while Amanda Seyfried comes off as the best singer of the bunch.  Anne Hathaway had the biggest challenge in singing the most famous song of the musical (I Dreamed a Dream) and I do have to say that she pulled it off. Any issues I have with how the musical was adapted was made up by the fact that I quite like the musical.  The songs convey enough emotion to keep me engaged in the story, even if I wasn’t all that crazy about the presentation.  Overall, while Les Misérables as a film was not too spectacular, it was a decent enough adaptation of the musical.8 | LIKED IT