Les Miserables Review: Russell Crowe Ruins Everything!

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Les Miserables is an impressive cinematic achievement that remains true to the iconic Broadway production, changing scarcely a storyline or a lyric and likely satisfying fans of the long-running musical.

There's just one minor problem: Russell Crowe absolutely cannot sing.

Russell Crowe as Javert

The Oscar winner portrays Inspector Javert in the film, an integral character who sets his sights on Hugh Jackman's fugitive, Jean Valjean.

But while Jackman has won Tony Awards and shined on stage, Crowe simply can't carry a tune.

He spends his time on screen concentrating so hard on each note and attempting to hide his accent while doing so that he fails to actually act. Javert is a fascinating, intense character, none of which comes off in Crowe's stoic performance.

The policeman is tasked with two solos, the final of which typically concludes - SPOILER ALERT - with a beautifully held long note, as Javert plunges to his death.

But the movie cuts the song short, removing the drama from this suicide and symbolizing the problem with Crowe's casting in general: you never forget that Russell Crowe is trying to sing like Inspector Javert. One of the best actors of his generation stands out, when he should be disappearing into the character.

Will Anne Hathaway win Best Supporting Actress for her role as Fontine? Yes. Will it be deserved? Absolutely.

Jackman is also strong, as is Samantha Barks (Eponine), and you can't go wrong with Sacha Baron Cohen as shady innkeeper Thenardier. But it's impossible to not be affected the most by Crowe and to envision the awards he ought to have coming down the line:

Sorry, Russell. But make room for a shelf full of Razzies.

(NOTE: For another take on the film, read the Les Miserable review from our friends at Movie Fanatic.)

Have you seen Les Miserables? Give it a grade now:


In a musical, you cannot carry a role on acting alone. It is 50% acting and 50% SINGING. While I will admit Crowe's acting in Les Mis was exceptional, his singing was absolutely horrendous. Having studied music for about 9 years now, his singing came off as very monotonous and boring; just about put me to sleep. Every time it came time for him to sing, I couldn't help but cringe. Jealous? HA! I should say not. For me personally, Hugh Jackman was the shining star in this musical.


I think russel singed very well

@ Özgün

Russel was good


Why the constant criticism of Russell Crow, i thought he did well Hugh Jackman didn't do any better. I think Crow was better in my view.


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The minute I heard Javert singing I completely fell in love with it. Russel Crowe did an amazing job and sure I might not know that much about singing but I believe that those who do and criticize him it's because they are JEALOUS!!!


as a musical theatre actor I personally find it pitiful that Crowe even got the part. There are hundreds of amazingly talented actors out there that would have done 1000 times better than Crowe and who need the money and recognition more. In a business where you have to fight for every scrap, it hurts me to see someone like Crowe get such an iconic role simply because he's famous. Typical Hollywood bullshit.


I don't play the music and I haven't seen the musical but I thought the Russell Crowe actually did pretty good. I don't know where was complaining I mean it was just movie calm down. It's not like he's a professional singer or something I mean I think he did pretty good for his background

@ alex

sorry the voice recognition screwed up I meant I know plenty about music and I haven't seen the Broadway musical


Totally agree. Anyone who likes Russell as this character doesn't understand acting, musical theater, or has seen anyone else play Javert. He can sing but didn't act. I know that's harsh but seriously....come on now. :P


While it's true that Russell cannot carry a tune very well, he made quite a brave showing in the film. I thought he played Javert wonderfully, at least as well as he was allowed to with the truncated script and uninspired directing.


Russel did sing way better than that hugh jackman and he had a stronger voice ..was dreadful to listen Jackman´s solos which i had expected to be powerful and strong as his character..but it sounded like he was loosing his voice with every note..

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