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The movie -- Why does everyone seem to have an issue with Russell Crowe as Javert??

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Jessica Every time I hear about the movie (which I TOTALLY loved--and yes, I've read the unabridged book and am currently reading an abridged version for a college humanities class), people always diss Russell Crowe and said that he did a terrible job as Javert. What is up with that?? Just curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.


Jason Haters gonna hate. I thought Russell Crowe was great in the movie.


message 3: by Patricia (last edited Nov 15, 2013 06:38PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Patricia I have seen the musical twice and thought the role of Javert was brilliantly played.
This man is crazy obsessed with Valjean - it's been his mission for over 10 years to hunt him down and catch him and I just didn't think Crowe portrayed the right level of obsession - he was kind of emotionless through most of it. He should have been darker & more obsessed.
Even the suicide wasn't anguished enough, Valjean just saved him and he's in a moral dilemma, he's always thought of Valjean as an criminal...and now he just saved his life. Morally he can't handle it and he's so conflicted by this that can't see any way out except to kill himself.
Both times in the musical, I cried at this part. In the film, I didn't feel any of that conflict and desperation from Crowe.
I knew his singing wasn't going to be great - but I really expected his acting to be amazing, and for me, it just wasn't.


message 4: by Rachael (last edited Nov 15, 2013 06:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rachael He wasn't passionate enough and his singing wasn't very great. Crowe's singing was too high-pitched for the part of Javert.


message 5: by Jon (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jon I cringed every time he opened up his mouth to sing off key. He's a great actor, but a crap singer and casting him was a mistake.


Diksha Geoffrey Rush immortalized Javert the way aliam Nissan immortalized Valjaun.


message 7: by Feliks (last edited Nov 16, 2013 11:16PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks Simple answer: because he's a crappy Australian movie star. A fop. I hadn't even heard he had ever starred as Javert but the way movies are these days--filled with assholes, made by assholes--it doesn't surprise me that some jerkwit producer somewhere would slate this loser to star in such an idiotic, unnecessary remake. For cryin' out loud. Why not just cast Crowe in 'My Fair Lady'? In Audrey Hepburn's role? Audiences today are such dimwits they'd probably accept that too, right?


message 8: by Jazzy (last edited Nov 17, 2013 01:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jazzy Lemon When I heard Les Miserables was going to be made into a musical film I was overjoyed! Then I saw the advert for Les Miserables on a bus with Russell Crowe's face on it. Aww!!! I said, I thought it was going to be GOOD!! :(

Well despite my original objections, mainly due to the fact that I have heard that Russell Crowe is not supposed to be a very nice man in person, I have to admit he gave an exceptional performance and enhanced my dislike of Javert.

I think all the characters were perfectly cast, and this has become my favourite film of all time.

PS. Not surprising since Les Miserables is my favourite book of all time :)


Shari Gates I personally felt that he was too good looking -- he sang like the songs were pop songs. Did not have the power and I agree that the suicide scene did not have the emotional distress that I thought it deserved. I don't think he was terrible but I think there were better choices for the role. I personally did not care for Amanda Seyfried as Cosette -- that high soprano with that shaky vibrato reminded me of somebody singing into a fan.


Kylie Meh, people always have something to complain about, and I find that often those that complain about someone like this are actively seeking a 'reason' to dislike the movie of the book. I loved the movie and loved the book, but I am sensible enough to separate my feelings for the two as they are both quite different entities for many reasons.


Jools Your never going to get a one sided answer to this question. I personally loved the movie and Russell Crowe.

I have read the book and watched several stage versions


message 12: by Guy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Guy Donovan Crowe's acting wasn't the issue, it was his singing. While I actually was bit surprised he did as well as he did, I think his range is nowhere near what the second most important role in the story (a musical version of it, no less) required. For that matter, I was just a slight bit disappointed in Hugh Jackman's range, especially given his theater and singing background. On the whole though, I'd have to say both of them did as well as they were capable of and it was a fantastic film version of the play. Far far better, in fact, than any of the non-musical versions of the story to date!


message 13: by Guy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Guy Donovan Clearly, I missed that one. It's likely my lack of French would have made it moot anyway.


message 14: by Kirk (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kirk The film was pretty good considering that they selected the cast on acting first and singing second. If you never saw any of the really good Broadway or London stage casts you'd think the singing is great.


Marius Pontmercy From the few Russell Crowe movies I have seen so far, it was easy to see that Russell has a very limited range. Ever seen a movie with him inside an airplane? You can't hear a thing of what he is saying, because the pitch of his voice is constantly the same as that of the engines: low, dull, and lacking any trace of variation. And, I think that is (for some people at least) a big source of his success.

However, while it might be an advantage when playing the role of a tragic hero, it most certainly is not an advantage in a musical. I think he did pretty poorly, and it was one reason why I never finished watching it.


message 16: by Awni (new) - rated it 5 stars

Awni F. he did a great job i think !


message 17: by Jessica (last edited Nov 22, 2013 09:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessica Thank you all for your commentary. I now somewhat get why people didn't and did like Russell Crowe as Javert. Personally, I thought he did well, but it probably doesn't help that I watched the movie first before reading the book. I still haven't seen the play on stage, but I want to someday. My parents have though. Honestly, this is one of my favorite musicals. I love the songs. =) Whenever people tell me that Russell Crowe did awful, I usually say 'Cut him some slack. Javert is a very difficult character to play!' Just going to throw that out there.


Vanessa Just adding my voice to the choir: I have seen the musical twice and Russell Crowe's voice was just too weak for Javert. That role really calls for someone with depth and power to their voice. To be fair though, I also thought Hugh Jackman's voice was on the puny side for Valjean.


message 19: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy Goodwin Listen to Philip Quast sing the role of Javert and you'll see why Russell Crowe wasn't up to par. (you can find that version on CD--the 1995 highlights, not the full version)

Russell was okay on the acting side but his singing didn't hit the power and range that I would have liked to see.

But overall, I think this was the best movie version ever done, just for the sheer emotion of the actors like Hugh Jackson and Anne Hathaway.


Juliea Q Smith Mimi wrote: "In my opinion Crowe sang with little feeling, almost as if he didn't even understand the context of the lyrics. His voice sounded the same throughout the entire movie. I think his best part was at ..."
Yes, agreed.


Alexandra Alexyna personatly i didn't hade a problem With Crow . I hade a problem with the musical . For me the best version of the movie was the one in wich Liam Nesson played


Genevieve Renee Jessica wrote: "Every time I hear about the movie (which I TOTALLY loved--and yes, I've read the unabridged book and am currently reading an abridged version for a college humanities class), people always diss Rus..."

He was a lovely actor. A little restrained, but that was his choice. I read the book in grade 6. The musical has been part of my life for longer than that. For many who saw the movie, we have wide experience with many, many Javerts, and so we were able to look at Russel fairly objectively. His acting was good. He did quite well, a heart of wood, restrained but dangerous.
But he did not have the vocal ability of Javert, which is a fairly demanding role. When he sang, he focused hard on singing and abandoned his acting, or he tried to fix that and his singing became worse. It wasn't his fault. All of the other actors but Amanda Seyfried had at least some stage experience, which would have prepared them for such a difficult role. He just didn't have the range of Terrence Mann, or Earl Carpenter, or Norm Lewis, or Hadley Fraser, or Philip Quast, or any Javert who came before him.


message 23: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda He can't sing.


Ellie As an actor I think Russell Crowe is talented. As for this movie I tried to watch it but couldn't get past the first ten minutes, I just can't do musicals. Considering the effort they took to remake this again you would have thought they would be more true to the book and leave the musicals to broadway. But alas Hollywood is all but dried up.


Ellie And for the record I read the unabridged version years ago, it is without a doubt my favorite book of all time and sadly I have had conversations with people who have no clue it was indeed a book and not just a musical made for Broadway.


Kathy Chumley I'm not a fan of Crowe mostly because his movies aren't my cuppa, but I was willing to give him a chance. He did okay. Just okay. I love this book and various movie adaptations, as well as the musical stage version, so I was willing to overlook many faults. However, I was looking forward to great singing, and this movie didn't deliver.

I saw the musical in London in the 80's shortly after it moved to The Palace. That was amazing. If you like the movie, and ever get a chance to see the stage version, I highly recommend it. If you want to compare the difference look up videos (there are plenty on youtube) of the 25th anniversary concert. When you hear those actors sing, you'll understand the difference.


Jessica I guess I asked this question because I liked Russell Crowe as Javert. But the movie was the first time I'd ever seen it. I've never seen it on stage. I've seen the movie and read the unabridged and an abridged version of the book. And that's the pattern I'm seeing...those that had seen it on stage before they saw the movie didn't like Russell Crowe. Just keep in mind that Javert is a difficult role to play and Russell Crowe deserves a little slack.


Annette Hello there
I am Parisian and I have loved Les Mis always - I didn't even know that RC was so hated for this part, to me he personified Javert, the way he should be - he was the tragic character Javert truly is. So what if he sang a little of key? This is by far one of the better Les Mis on screen, the one with Liam N and Geoffrey Rush was horrible, so far from the book that I had a hard time watching the entire movie (saw it with a friend and we both wanted to leave after ten minutes :)) No, this musical I believe captures the spirit (?) of Hugo's great work ... and RC was great as he always is ...


message 29: by marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

marc i loved him in the movie but the critics said he did an awful job. i loved him(:


message 30: by David (last edited Mar 18, 2014 02:19AM) (new)

David Feng To be fair to Crowe, it is a different interpretation of Javert, a man with unwavering allegiance to justice and authority, not obsessed. The obsessed Javert is kind of overplayed. This way his suicide is more believable, ValJean saving his life and ask for nothing in return has assaulted his worldview of the world. He just could not reconcile his happenstance, feeling and worldview. If he is thankful and let ValJean go, it goes against his worldview of justice and authority, which is the bedrock of his existence. If he does not let ValJean go, he does not know how to repay him or even justify all of these years of going after him. In his view, a criminals should not have an altruistic side to them. Rather than making an decision which he would be damned either way. He chose to kill himself. If he is Catholic, most of the French are, it could be further construed that he'd rather face hell than deal with his existential crisis. So the cold hard portrayal of Crowe falls in line with a man who is blindly devoted justice and authority.

As for his voice, he is not a classically trained singer, he is an active blues/rocknroll singer, so his singing would sound out of place!


message 31: by Viktorija (last edited Mar 17, 2014 10:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viktorija Critics are stupid.

Russel did an amazing job and I'm not even a fan of his. He really brought a lot of emotion into Javert's character. People actually *cried* in the theater when he died on screen which is something I've never seen achieved on stage.

Kudos to Crowe.


message 32: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Cook I really liked the film version of Les Mis. I thought Russel did a very good job acting but I wouldn't give his singing an A plus. He's not classically trained like some other people were and is backgrounds are more bluesy and rock n roll. He did have a short career as a singer (I forgot the name of the band). His acting was wonderful but his singing was out of tune with everyone else. (Music puns lol)


message 33: by Jenn (new)

Jenn People diss Russell Crowe because, to most people who have actually seen a stage performance of Les Mis, his vocal performance as Javert was a terrible disappointment. This movie provided the opportunity to introduce Les Mis to a whole new audience - and they chose someone with very weak singing chops, and now that is the version of the show that will last, that will be watched and re-watched and talked about - a version where Javert's numbers have no depth, feeling or soul. He sounds like he's on auto-tune throughout the whole movie. His vocal performance, when compared to the likes of Terrence Mann, is about as nuanced as a child's finger painting when compared with Van Gogh.

...I hope I've been quite clear.


message 34: by Nikolina (new)

Nikolina Otržan Whoever has seen the Glums on stage cannot possibly say that Crowe did a good job.

He wasn't horrible, he was beyond horrible. Let his singing abilities aside, as an actor he did absolutely nothing for the role. He was flat thruout the movie.

If you just compare his Javert with a concert version, 10th anniversary one (it's on Youtube btw), where Philip Quast played Javert..that's Javert as it should be, not Crowe's pitiful "performance" without any drive or passion... I really don't understand why on earth he auditioned for that role in the first place and why he wasn't replaced when it was obvious he wasn't up to the task.

I don't dislike Crowe as an actor in general, I'm talking as somebody who's loved Glums for many years and every single time I see or hear that musical, it moves me deeply. But not Crowe. He's beyond horrible.


Carrie Kester I think it's totally unfair to compare Russell Crowe to Glums or Quast. Get over it, People! Russell Crowe is an ACTOR and did a superb job. There are professional singers and there are actors. IF they had wanted a professional singer for the role they would have had one BUT OBVIOUSLY THEY WANTED RUSSELL CROWE. I loved his and all of the actors portrayal of this magnificent story/movie/musical!


message 36: by Nikolina (new)

Nikolina Otržan Ok, as an actor, he did a shitty job.


message 37: by Nikolina (new)

Nikolina Otržan Jenn wrote: "People diss Russell Crowe because, to most people who have actually seen a stage performance of Les Mis, his vocal performance as Javert was a terrible disappointment. This movie provided the oppo..."

I couldn't agree more.


Kallie Davis Though I am not yet 13, I have read the book, seen the movie, I have watched the musicals on television and am going to see the musical in June. I felt that Crowe's performance was phenomenal. Though Norm Lewis was my top favourite Javert portrayer, Crowe has to be one of my top ones. I felt that his tone was beautiful and I feel the cast was chosen perfectly. (Especially Enjorlas, my gosh) Though people complain about Russel Crowe's lack of emotion and off-pitch, I think they fail to notice mistakes that Hugh Jackman has also made. For instance,
Javert: "It seems to me we may have met."
Valjean:"Your face is not a face I would forGET."
This note makes me cringe, and I prefer Russel Crowe's smooth voice than Hugh Jackman's rough one. This is just my personal opinion.


message 39: by Kirsi (new)

Kirsi I have never heard so bad musical adaptation. Sam Barks was only decent singer, otherwise both singing and direction were abysmal. I can´t stand Eddie Redmayne as Marius. I´m sure he is good actor but oh lord. Crowe was a robot. And before some human sewer sends me obscenities AGAIN; it´s a movie, people. Get over it. Some like it. Some don´t.


message 40: by Em (new)

Em Because his acting was wooden, with one facial expression to suit every scene. Oh yes, and he can't sing for toffee.


message 41: by Harley (new)

Harley Kirsi wrote: "I have never heard so bad musical adaptation. Sam Barks was only decent singer, otherwise both singing and direction were abysmal. I can´t stand Eddie Redmayne as Marius. I´m sure he is good actor ..."
I think this is unfair, though I admit I come from only having watched this adaptation, though I also think this gives me a more objective perspective. I think the aim of having seasoned actors acting the film and singing live was ambitious and may have had a slight negative effect on the overall performance, but on the whole I rather enjoyed it

I would say that individually most of the performances were adequate, but some of the cast didn't really pair up that well. Those that came from the stage versions of Les Mis (Sam Barks, along with many of the smaller roles) seemed to fair better, as did those with a strong musical/theatre background like Aaron Tveit.

I thought Crowe played the part of Javert well, he came across as unyielding and absolute rather than passionate, which might have put off those that are fans of the stage show, but to me felt like a fairly believable interpretation of the character. However, the problem I had was that when he sung alongside Hugh Jackman, they were singing in completely different tones, which felt jarring. Likewise, Eddie Redmayne's voice suffered against the rest of the cast, but I enjoyed his solo performance of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". I didn't rate Amanda Seyfried or Anne Hathaway's musical or acting performances particularly highly though. Hugh Jackman can act well, and probably sing well, but he definitely seems to struggle to do them both at the same time. But I think Sam Barks in particular did very well for a first film, helped by her experience with the character on stage


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

My cousin HATED Crowe as Javert. Honestly, I thought he filled the role very well. After seeing the film for the umpteenth time, I can't picture anyone else anyway.


Sarah B I... when I first heard the cast announcement of Hugh Jackman as Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, my immediate thought was: Shouldn't it be the other way around..?


Lucia Russel Crowe was perfect for this part he is a brilliant singer and an amazing actor. He was brilliant his voice was so strong and valiant which the director wanted to convey through Javert and I believe Russel Crowe delivered his role brilliantly. Russel Crowe mirrored a pathetic fallacy at his suicide which came across to the audience.


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