High time for a new post, but I have very little time right now. So I’m being lazy and posting a comment I left on a post about Les Miserables. (How do you put accents on letters in WordPress?)
I saw the show about twenty years ago, in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. I read the book about 15 years ago, and I saw the movie recently. I absolutely loved the book. It’s like a Dickens novel on steroids and suffering from depression. Larger than life drama and social commentary, and the misery does not let up. (The Thenardiers definitely don’t function as comic relief in the novel, that I remember.)
I have to say the show blew me away, despite being on a smallish stage, with stage scenery, while the movie, with close-ups and on the big screen left me terribly disappointed. The time lapses and motivations don’t work in the movie as they do on the stage. But my biggest gripe is with the singing.
It was annoying that all the dialogue was sung. But the absolute low point to me was Hugh Jackman’s singing. I couldn’t stand his nasal mewling. It was painfully bad. Russell Crowe was a little better, but I felt he was holding back all the time, as if his singing abilities–where this genre is concerned anyway–weren’t sufficient to be able to belt it out.
Anne Hathaway made up for it all, though. I would like to have only the scenes where Fantine sings on DVD, to watch over and over again. The rest is forgettable. It’s too bad, because it could have been magnificent, and now it will be decades before the next attempt.