Do You Hear the People Sing, Without Being Pre-Recorded?

My wife is a big fan of Les Miserables, so it was through her that I both saw the musical and read the book. Now the movie is out, and she’s already seen it twice, and planning to see it again. I watched it with her last night, and I found it to be a pretty straight adaptation of the musical, although Beth tells me there were a few songs they cut short or removed entirely, and even a few they added. They also managed to work in a few references to the book that don’t appear in the traditional stage musical, like Jean Valjean giving Cosette a doll, Marius’ grandfather appearing, and Gavroche living inside an elephant statue. I can’t say I’m particularly knowledgeable about musicals, so I can’t really comment on the fact that the actors were singing live instead of having pre-recorded the songs. It sounds like a good idea to me, as it seems like it would be easier to show the proper emotion live, but I’ve seen some complaints about it. I do think they cast some parts without really knowing whether the actors could sing, but when I was watching the film as a whole, that didn’t bother me. Fantine should have been a blonde, but that’s not to say Anne Hathaway didn’t do a good job with the part. Her tear-filled rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” was quite moving. Beth and I both wondered, however, why she didn’t have her hair back when appearing in Heaven at the end. I also feel I should mention the Thenardiers, who were pretty thoroughly villainous in the book, but made more comical in the musical. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter totally played up the comedy by hamming it up, and I think it worked. I don’t know what the general opinion is on this film, but I liked it.

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5 Responses to Do You Hear the People Sing, Without Being Pre-Recorded?

  1. I wondered the same thing about Fantine’s hair not growing back in the reprise.

    Also, I think Helena Bonham Carter was the exact same character she was in Sweeney Todd. I’m not really complaining though, I thought she worked.

    I’ve still never actually seen the real musical on stage.

  2. Anthony Will says:

    listened to broadway cast album for two years. Saw the first run of the musical at the Pantages in Hollywood from the third row. didn’t read the book. saw the movie LO)VED IT/ going to re see it, and I NEVER do that. Only complaint. Russell Crowe absolutely can’t sing. Anne Hathaway deserves a best supporting actress nomination. signing off from Hollywood

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