I did not expect to love the movie adaptation of the hit musical "Les Miserables."
If I had not gone with a big group, I would have walked out of the theater 15 minutes in.
The problem is the singing; specifically, Hugh Jackman's singing. Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a man sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. When he is finally released, he takes on a new identity and tries to become a better person, but his past haunts him.
Jackman's acting is great, but his voice is wrong for the role and is wasted on powerful, inspiring songs. This is unfortunate because he holds a Tony Award for best leading actor in a musical.
The trend of good acting and not-so-hot singing is consistent across the board.
Filmmakers made the bold choice to make their singers do everything live, as opposed to lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track, which is great because you can feel the emotions. It is not so great because the singers never even try to attempt the kind of powerful singing that makes "Les Miserables" so exciting.
Anne Hathaway does a brilliant job as Fantine, a mother desperate to provide for her child. Russell Crowe gives a powerful and compelling performance as Javert, the police officer who becomes obsessed with bringing Valjean to justice. Aaron Tveit is wonderful as Enjolras, a young revolutionary leader. The quality of his singing really stands out. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are hilarious as the crooked innkeeper Thénardier and his wife.
The children of the story, Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) and Young Cosette (Isabelle Allen), are adorable and great singers.
The filmmakers made some adjustments to the score, which seemed to work well. I especially loved their arrangement of the song "Do You Hear the People Sing?"
A warning for the squeamish: Be prepared for battle scenes and a graphic sequence in the sewers of Paris.
I do admire a lot of things about the movie and find many parts quite enjoyable. Just do not make me listen to Hugh Jackman singing "Who Am I?"
Carolyn Stevens is a junior at Whitmore Charter High School and a member of the Teens in the Newsroom Program.