Les Misérables: A Miserable Failure

imagesTo say I’ve been excited to see the movie version of Les Misérables is an understatement. Ever since I saw the trailer about a year ago, I’ve been giddy with anticipation. As a choir nerd from elementary school to college I sang tons of Les Mis medleys, and I finally saw it live at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre over the summer. So I was ready to revel in its cinematic glory.

Well, with disappointment after disappointment, where do I even start? Director Tom Hooper decided to record vocals live instead of prerecording them, giving the actors freedom to match their singing to the spontaneity of their acting. Apparently, “freedom” meant freedom to rewrite the music. Between the flat and nasally notes, croaking, choking, and slurring of words it was hard to recognize the profound beauty of Claude-Michel Schönberg’s original score. Of course, all this was done in the name of “authenticity” and “raw” emotion. The thing is, the music itself conveys such depth of emotion all it needs is the proper musicality to deliver it. Instead, the film left me floundering in a sea of unnecessary overacting. Continue reading “Les Misérables: A Miserable Failure”