When I watched the movie Les Misérables (2012), I was surprised to see them singing! It looks funny to me. The story is excellent and touching but I find it quite inappropriate to see them singing. I feel like watching and opera show, not a movie, and I don't even like opera.

I have seen many animations where singing is very common. For cartoons and animations, singing is very matching because it is mostly designed for kids and for entertainment. I have seen other movies like Enchanted where they sing a lot but it is very matching with the beautiful scenery, dress and the beautiful actors. But the movie Les Misérables is not like that. People are very dirty, the places are dirty, there is only death and struggles. And they are singing :( I think it should be done like a normal movie instead of the actors singing always. I also don't like the way they sing. It is only spoiling the movie.

Why was Les Misérables (2012) movie made in musical style? Would it be better if it was done like a normal movie, which I think will make it more real and more touching?

  • 3
    The obvious answer would be that the movie was most probably based on the famous musical Les Miserables. Yet I sense a not so bad question hidden under all the subjective opinions here.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 9 '14 at 6:36
  • 1
    My understanding was the producers wanted this to be the opera, only with the grandeur only a movie can provide. Les Misérables (the opera) is, well, an opera. Almost all dialogue is sung. This is why all dialogue is sung in the movie. If you don't like the singing, there are many movie versions which do not include or where not all dialogue is sung. I mean, if you don't want to hear them sing, don't go to an opera. Personally, if I never hear Hugh Jackman sing again, it will be too soon. Jan 9 '14 at 11:33
  • @Paulster2 Do you like the opera?
    – Mawia
    Jan 9 '14 at 11:36
  • No. I do like the story behind Les Mis though. I am still perplexed by why everyone thought Hugh Jackman's singing was so great ... I thought Russell Crowe did a much better job ... but this is JMHO. The only way I would routinely watch Opera was if I was a paid critic, but then I wouldn't have that job in the first place because nobody would like my opinions of them. (Do any of us really like paid critics opinions though?) Jan 9 '14 at 11:52
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    @Paulster2 As a side note, if you like the story, then I might recommend the French 4-part made for TV movie with Gerard Depardieu and John Malkowitch from the 2000s. While I don't know the source material, I really enjoyed that (though, I also liked this 2012 musical film, and Russel Crowe was great).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 9 '14 at 12:15

The story has already been shot as a normal movie, back in 1998. And 1995. And 1982. And 1978.... on and on and on.

The 1998 version of Les Miserables was a straight take on the Victor Hugo novel, intended to be a po faced English language interpretation of the failed second revolution. It was well received (still rated 78% fresh by Rotten Tomatoes) but did not meet anywhere near the same level of financial success as the 2013 version.

The new version was created as a musical because this is the first time the story has been told in musical format in a feature film, having been adapted from the long running stage show. The Musical had already proven its popularity, being the longest running stage show on the West End of all time.

There have been nine interpretations of the story, but this is the first time the musical has been re-created, instead of the story.

Basically, the reason they sing is because that's entirely the point of this production: it is an adaptation of The Musical, not the book.

  • I guess I'm watching the wrong version of Les Miserables. :)
    – Mawia
    Jan 9 '14 at 11:51
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    They do have different meanings, but Les Mis is most definitely a Musical, not an Opera. Les Miserables actively markets itself as a Musical. And FYI, Opera often contains dancing too... Jan 9 '14 at 12:11
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    @Paulster2, I'm not a fan of them either, but musicals have a heavy legacy in Film History, of which I am an acolyte!... Despite what the professional terminology suggests, I don't believe there to be a huge difference between Opera and Musicals, I think its just market deviation. What's the difference between a Musical and an Opera? £40 a ticket. Jan 9 '14 at 12:25
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    @Paulster2 - It's not entirely market deviation. While there is a fine line, in an opera, the music is the driving force and showcased, and in a musical, the words take more emphasis than the music does. This is one reason that opera can be enjoyed even if you don't understand the language.
    – JohnP
    Jan 9 '14 at 14:43
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    @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I know this is late to the game but if there's actual spoken dialogue, it's not an opera. In opera (at least traditional full operas, not operettas), everything is sung. Dancing is irrelevant to opera, though.
    – Catija
    May 16 '17 at 19:17

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