Les Miserables Review: Russell Crowe Ruins Everything!

by at . Comments

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:


Concur. Knowing these are known actors not singers, I was not expecting to be dazzled by the singing. But every single scene (and there were a few) of Russell Crowe singing on the ledge, I WANTED TO PUSH HIM OVER TO SHUT HIM UP. The acting was wanting as well; he was stiff and uncomfortable in his part. I really wish they had went with someone else. Crowe was so awful he was extremely distracting.


Why the hate on Russel Crowe ? His performance was solid and outstanding. If you want to see the perfect singers performing a musical go in a Broadway show. From all the actors singing the most memorable for me was Russel Crowe. I already knew Hugh Jackman was a good singer so i was anticipating Crowe's performance and was not dissaponited. He sang with emotion and left his touch in the movie.


Fantine. I have a harder time taking your 'review' seriously when you can't be bothered to spell the character's name correctly. Russell Crowe was not the typical Javert that fans of the stage production are accustomed to. Crowe's "Rock Opera" voice didn't mesh with what I had anticipated and unfortunately, it left me longing for more grandeur in some of my favorite numbers in the score (namely 'Stars'). However, that being said, it was a unique take on the role--A Javert completely cut off from his emotions. The audience is keyed in to the his struggles, but you have to watch for it. My favorite performance from Crowe or of Javert? Absolutely not. Did it ruin the movie? Absolutely not. Enter the theatre with an open mind and do not expect the stage production. On stage you're moved by the grandeur of the belting musical numbers. On screen expect to be moved by the intimacy of the performance.


I've seen Les Mis just yesterday, and, I have to say, even though I wasn't expecting that much from a movie version, it was actually amazing. I loved every actor in their respective parts but Crowe. I like him very much as an actor, but he doesn't have the voice to play Javert.
I was very disappointed when, in the suicide scene, he couldn't reach the last high note. That is my favourite Javert song, and he totally ruined it for me. I am now left with a sense of void, and I think I will go and listen to my favourite Javert from the 25th Anniversary to make up for it. So, yeah, he totally ruined the movie experience for me.
A pleasant surprise was Jackman: I knew the man could sing, but I really didn't think he would live up to my expectations. The apotheosis of his singing was reached with "Bring him home", obviously, but I have to admit I liked him way more in "One Day More", my all-favourite song from Les Mis!
Cosette - well, let's forget for a moment I hate her character, but Amanda Seyfred wasn't actually that bad. Sure, she struggles a little with the highest notes, but I kinda liked her.
As for Eponine, I liked Barks' performance better in the 25th Anniversary. And she was waaay to skinny, and that distracted me a lot.
Nothing to say about Marius and Enjolras - they were both awesome (even though no one can beat Michael Ball as Marius in my heart).
Side note: Sacha Baron Cohen as "the Master of the House" Thenardier was the best choice ever! I didn't know about his casting (I try to avoid certain news before I watch the movie, so I can be surprised), but he was great! Helena Bonham Carter was okay - nothing special, but I wasn't pleased nor disappointed by her, so that's good.


I agree 100% with this article, I was cringing in the theater... nothing was okay about his acting or singing.


I loved this movie and will definitely go to see it again soon. I found that Crowe had a beautiful voice. It is true that is not much in the way of dynamics, but such caution is plausible for the character he plays. Sometimes I found Jackman's vibrato off-putting. I thought that Bonham Carter and Baron Cohen were more raucous than they really needed to be. In any case, none of this ruined the movie for me.


I saw 'Les Miserables' tonight. I fully expected Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman to steal the film, but as great as they both were, for me it was Russell Crowe's performance that I will remember most. His baritone for me matched the strong and resiliant personality of Javert and without his performance the rest of the film would have been less memorable. Some people will see the film and have different opinions - for me it was some of the trained singers in lesser roles that did far less for the film. Great job from Russell in my opinion and one of his best roles.

@ Michael Wales

Couldn't agree more! I had seen the play, and loved it, but the movie gave you such a clearer look at all of the characters. Literally and figuratively, for that matter. In the play, Javert annoyed me; typical bad guy, blah, whatever. Plus I didn't really know what was going on -- lack of background knowledge on my part, and it definitely wasn't Broadway. But when I saw the movie, I found Russell Crowe had the most intriguing character -- by far. I loved his voice, and his acting was phenomenal. It was rough and real, that was the best thing about it. His whole performance in the movie is haunting. Javert ended up being my favorite character; Russell Crowe did a great job.

Power macnz

I have just seen the Le Mis film here in Auckland, New Zealand. I thought the cast were exceptional, remembering that some were not trained singers but actors. I thought Russell Crowe was brilliant to sing his final song before Javert dies. It would be difficult for trained singers to render this with passion - Russell did a GREAT job. All you knockers should try it. Well done Rus.

Cuss hannah

Hollywood gossip is so wrong about Russell Crowe. He was stunning and really that good so watch what you say about addressing him that he ruins les miserables. He did not at all, u being gossiping about it. His singing is very stunning to the screen, really good. I will say more words, that's what I got to say.


Loved the movie, but Russell Crowe's performance still makes me cringe when I think about it. Luckily, everyone else was good enough that I could easily forget about him for awhile. His performance felt forced, and it sounded as if he was trained to sing at a certain pitch that went nowhere...it sounded very fake and out of place, like it was awkward for him. I just re watched a trailer for it online and I am literally embarrassed for him. But again, like I said, he has the fellow cast to thank for being good and distracting us from him. Sorry Russell, but this just wasn't good, and unfortunately no one (including the director) said anything about it. If the movie had more speaking lines, and he sang less, he could've pulled it off.

Tags: ,