Unless you’ve been in a French prison for 20 years (spoiler alert.. not!) you know LES MISERABLES is the story of Jean Valjean and Javert. The musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel of a French policeman’s 20-year pursuit of a parole skipper, was turned into a historically successful musical that won countless Tony’s and worldwide fans. And I must say, I don’t get it. At least based on this movie. Obviously Broadway is worlds apart from a movie musical. I have never seen the Broadway version. I can only hope it is better than this. The people on the screen weren’t the only ones who were miserable. I was too! Apparently Tom Hooper thinks singing can only be done on a close up, because every person singing is shot tight….really tight! The singing is apparently live to film, so it’s there warts and all. That’s not bad. Just putting it out there. I’ve seen people slam the hell out of Russell Crowe, saying he cannot sing. Wrong! He can sing. He can’t sing THIS! He’s a rock ‘n’ roll singer. Jackman, Hathaway, et. al. are Broadway singers. There’s a difference. And because Crowe can’t carry his vocal weight, his just isn’t menacing enough as the obsessed police investigator. It’s boring and cloying and everyone is unhappy (they’re Miserable!!), but in a totally melodramatic fashion. The songs are the songs. The music is wonderful, just not the way it is performed in this dud. And the acting..oy.. this is a masters course in overacting (I’m talking to you Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne). The only saving grace in this mess was Sacha Baron Cohen Helena Bonham Carter who seemed to be the only two people having fun. Oscar nominations came out earlier today and this film got a bunch, including best picture. All I can say is “sacre bleu”!?! — Alan Yudman

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