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I just finished watching the newest Les Miserable movie a few minutes ago. I’ve had the original Broadway soundtrack for a long time and have always found it beautiful and emotional. The wonderful voices of Colm Wilkinson (who plays Jean Valjean) and the ones who played Javert, Fantine, and Eponine (sorry, I don’t remember the names) always send shivers down my spine. However, the voices in this newest movie lack that ability. I will admit, I felt the emotion of the movie mostly because of the story and the acting. But not really because of the singing. The thing that bothered me the most is that many times when they should have been singing from the heart, they were “talk singing”. I don’t know how to explain what that means, but I think some of you might know what I mean. It was frustrating because it wasn’t done that way in the original. I think they wasted Hugh Jackman’s voice in many of the songs. There were a few songs, though, where I wasn’t disappointed. “On My Own” is my favorite song from Les Mis, and I was afraid the woman portraying Eponine (Samantha Barks) wouldn’t be up to the challenge. As she belted out the tune, I said to my husband, “Yes, she nailed it!” It wasn’t as strong as the original, but it was good. Then when Hugh Jackman sang “Bring Him Home”, he was able to show us that he does have a wonderful, strong voice. There were a few other songs that were okay. The guy who played Marius (Eddie Redmayne) was pretty good as well as the one who played Enjalros (Aaron Tveit).

Now to Russell Crowe as Javert. As an actor, he was a good choice. As a singer, not so much. It’s not that he doesn’t have a good voice, because he does. But it’s not STRONG enough for this type of musical. The one who plays Javert on my original soundtrack has a VERY strong voice, so it was hard to hear a weaker voice in this role. He didn’t do a bad job on “Javert’s Suicide”.

I think the worst ones were Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, playing the Thenardiers. What they did wasn’t really singing. The original soundtrack was really funny when these two were singing, and the WAY they sang made it funny. This movie failed with this couple. Their acting was spot on in these roles…just not the singing.

All in all, I enjoyed this movie. Of course, I cried. This is a sad and depressing movie, but at the same time, it shows that people can be redeemed. The cinematography was good. The acting was good. The singing just wasn’t up to par. Not terrible, just not up to the standards of the original Broadway musical.

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