The number one movie in the US this weekend was Les Miserables. I know many people who loved it, raved about it, and will be seeing it many times in the theater. I am not one of them. I want to give a little background about me before you all think I'm just a heartless critic that 'didn't get it.' I've studied both acting and voice since I was a child. I've gone to a specialty college and been apart of many performance groups over the years. I'm currently studying opera and have studied classical voice for years. Hopefully that will give you a good idea as to why I feel the way I do.
I'll start with what I liked about the film. First the acting was amazing. Anne Hathaway was amazing! Her death scene was so phenomenally done, I did indeed hold back tears. Her delirium was perfect. I loved her acting. Maius was wonderful! His voice was great and he did a wonderful job as a revolutionary. The other revolutionaries were great, vocal ability was fantastic and they all worked very well together.
Now . . . onto the things I didn't like. The vocals of the leads were atrocious. I had hoped for so much more from Hugh Jackman. Having done Broadway and theater all over the world, you would like he would be better. His speak/singing was so annoying. He couldn't go through a single song without dropping away and breathing the lyrics at the end of a phrase. It drove me crazy. Also, he held his sound way to forward, up in his nasal cavity. Anne Hathaway's voice was also extremely disappointing. In the song I Dreamed a Dream it didn't bother me as much as the rest of her vocals, but overall I felt they were lacking in more ways then I can count. Many of the secondary characters in the show had such better vocals then the leads. Because of this, the last 1/3 of the movie was where it actually started to get interesting. The sets all bled together because there was no change in colors or style. Everything had the pallor of one dead or dying; black, brown, tan, cream, coal. Anything that did have color was muted and dull. One other thing really bothered me. The scene of 'Master of the House'. Sasha and Helena were good casts, but that scene was so over the top, so inappropriate and crude that it colored my feelings for those two throughout the rest of the film. I know we aren't supposed to like those two characters, but seriously? A whore having sex with Santa where we see her straddling him shouting 'Oh, Santa!'. Was that really necessary? The whole scene's grotesque action totally put me off for a while afterward. Russell Crows portrayal of Javert while predictable was okay. His singing was mediocre, but that wasn't his fault. He isn't a singer, and he never professed to be.
While I enjoyed the acting of most of characters, overall the film was lacking in so much that I don't think I'll be watching it again. In the theater or not.