I first saw this in the cinema and having never seen Les Miserable on the stage, but knowing many of the songs from school I had mixed feelings. Some of the voices for singing are better than others. Hathaway and Redmayne as well as smaller characters (Les Amis and Eponine) give beautiful, haunting and amazing performances. Others seem to struggle. Seyfried's voice is arguably the worst and next to Eddie Redmayne's pitch perfect power voice, falls especially flat with a sort of warbly high pitched squeaking. Jackman (surprisingly) seems to struggle, though having heard he prepared for the role by barely eating or drinking that's not so surprising. Crowe's voice is love it or hate it, with me opting for hate and my husband adoring it.
That being said, the decision to use live voices over studio recorded has both it's good and it's bad points. The good points are that the emotions and beautiful acting and passion in the actor's voices comes across much more clearly. The bad is that often the flaws can be heard too and in the case of the weaker singers this is obvious.
Les Miserables suffers from some droning songs that reference God way too much, but it also has rousing and wonderful songs and you'll find even the worst of the music getting hopelessly stuck in your head for days. But it's definitely worth a watch and it is, without a doubt, a movie that will stay with you, full of sentimentality and hope, even as that hope fails.
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