January 11, 2013     Tori Cook

Live in Musical Tours vs. Motion Pictures Follow-Up


Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables scene

Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News

I wanted to follow-up on my previous blog post regarding live entertainment versus motion pictures. Last weekend I went to see Les Misérables in theaters and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

I have to commend the director, Tom Hooper, for requiring actors/actresses who can actually hold their own when it comes to singing. Though, most of the songs were spoken-sung, I felt that it made the characters very real to the audience. It wasn’t about perfect singing; it was really about the emotion that was portrayed in this style of singing and it was done excellently.

I thought I would share some of my favorite moments/characters with you:

Characters to Look for:

Jean Valjean – Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman seems to be one of the few who has classical training. He has a very forward, almost nasally quality, but it really helps bring out the clarity of his tone. Throughout the film, he is strong in both his acting and his vocal technique though I enjoyed him most during the prison-like scenes.

Fantine – Anne Hathaway

I have to admit that I did not expect Anne Hathaway to do well in this role. However, I was extremely impressed with how she pulled it off. “I Dreamed a Dream” was, by far, the most emotional piece of the movie along with her scenes where she was desperate to make money for Cosette.

Cosette – Amanda Seyfried

I knew Amanda Seyfried would be great at this role, and she was. She has the innocence that is perfect for Cosette and literally the voice of an angel. Cosette’s role goes to a high C, which Seyfried was able to delicately sing in the live take. Granted, the instruments typically were brought out during these notes, I’m assuming to help smooth over any blemishes in the sound. But still, overall a very nice sound in her top register which was astonishing.

Young Cosette – Isabelle Allen

Adorable little girl. Really great for her first role ever, she will definitely be a star! Beautiful and clear songs which make your heart melt. Way to go Isabelle!

Gavroche – Daniel Huttlestone

Another young actor who blew my mind! Gavroche is such a lovable character as is, but Huttlestone really took it to another level. Great acting, cute accent, and just adorable in his songs. I thought the filming of him on the back of the carriage was the most memorable scene of him, along with his tragic scene at the end.

Thénardier – Sacha Baron Cohen

After Sweeney Todd, who knew that Sacha Baron Cohen would find a new niche! He really was the comic relief of the show along with Helena Bonham Carter. “Master of the House” was stuck in my head all week!

Enjolras – Aaron Tveit

I thought as a more secondary character, Tveit really outshone some of the others. He has a great voice and his acting was powerful to watch. I hope to see him come out in a few more musical films soon.

Most Memorable Pieces:

  • All ensemble pieces, particularly “Master of the House”
  • “I Dreamed a Dream”
  •  “On My Own”

Overall, I felt that the movie was tastefully done. I still have a deep appreciation for live theatre, but I thought the Hooper ‘s choice on live singing was a good one and truly made it an emotional experience.  If you see the movie, be prepared to cry… a lot.

Les Miserables Poster with Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter

Photo courtesy of Filmmaker IQ


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