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:


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I would love to see les miserables more because all of Russell Crowe , I really think that Jekyll and Hyde may turn into a musical movie, along with Anna Hathaway. I gotta said that he is a great singing and above all anything else in les miserables was a great in filming Russell Crowe as he play his role. Role he had did was a great well and his singing to as well


hm its weird i actually thought russell crowe was awesome in the movie. He has the emotion in his voice and stands out from everyone else in a positive way


what this fool fails to perceive is that most of the people who watch films and stage shows do not want to see perfect renditions from brilliant singers , we prefer to see multi talented people giving their all, most of us would be just as happy watching amateur dramatics so climb down off your soapbox you pompous pratt, we all thougt the whole show was magnificent and if you think you can do any better lets hear your attempt on youtube otherwise crawl away and die Please


topic about Russell Crowe in musical movie. He's a well great actor in les miserables


Russell Crowe was actually brilliant at his singing and his part Javert i know of many people who would vote him as best of the show ..the other singers were good too but Crowe actually shined like the Stars he sung about ..well done!!!!

@ Gina

I thought the same - Russell Crowe sings powerful and I absolutely cannot see why everyone is taking the same line on that issue. To me, after listing to the solos on the soundtrack for a several times, Russell Crowe performs awesomely. (As do all the other apart from Bring me home that is way too loud and shouted instead of sung).

@ Gina

INCIDENTLY to add to my comments ....the whole cinema was in silence at the end with people holding back tears and every emotion bursting to get out ..the best film for a long time ...


Just saw the film. Was moved emotionally even though well versed in the story, having read it again as recent as this past summer. Crowe made me cringe with his 5 note monotonous range. I couldn't help but wonder if they rewrote the score to match his limitations with singing. Each time I saw him on the screen it brought me out of the story and back to 'this is painful'.

@ StephenGunn

My thoughts EXACTLY! That's what I kept saying to myself every time he would start to sing: 'Dear lord, this is painful.' xD


I agree with James... Russell Crowe did amazing in this character have you read the book? he transmitted increadibly well the internal conflict Javert went through! his singing was great too... he does not has the greatest voice ever, but he knew how to take advantage of it!


Russell Crowe was by no means a let down. In fact, he is one of the better actors in the film. Okay, yes he isn't the most trained and polished singer; however his acting is amazing and that is the most important factor in any musical: The Acting! Even so, he was by no means the worst singer in this film. I think the main reason people have a problem with him is that his portrayal is so different to how it is normally done on stage. It was by no means as forced. Give credit to the man; he is one of few of the cast who have made the part completely their own!


Russell Crowe was absolutely amazing and think all of the people that have slated him I would like to see you do better its not a stage performance it's a movie! Complete credit to such a brilliant actor who made the film even more moving. All of the actors/actressess did the musical complete justice!!


Russel Crowe had a stellar performance of the character Javert!! He was just the right amount of cold hearted, unforgiving and confused as the character should have been, and his voice brought across all these attributes right up to the very end. Yes the stage musical productions require more musical prowess to move the audience but in a movie setting you expect as close to reality as possible and Javert is portrayed in the novel as a raw, hard man set in his ways and it just would not have made sense for him to really have a big classical baritone. Russel Crowe showed amazing control of his voice and his baritone in this role was superb in reference to the character. My 2c worth :)


The director did a bad casting call with Russel Crowe and Amanda Seyfried, coming from a country with spectacular singing voices, I think these two actors did not give justice to their roles. I have seen amazing voices on stage (Broadway, West End and Movies!!!!) and they just did not do it right..I feel sorry for the movie because it was almost exquisitely done. Next time maybe...