MOVIES

Controversial Acting Performances That Movie Fans Will Never Forgive

Look, you have to at least give Russell Crowe props for being extremely brave here. The 2012 film adaptation of the legendary stage musical “Les Misérables” proudly touted that all of the singing was done live by the actors, rather than lip-synched to a polished studio recording, which is more often the standard for movie musicals. For the most part, the results were stunning, and showcased the stellar pipes of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in particular. For Crowe to even be willing to give it a shot when surrounded by mostly seasoned musical performers took a lot of guts. But guts don’t always equal glory. 

Simply put, Crowe isn’t a strong singer. It’s one thing to fall short in this regard in a lighter movie — see Pierce Brosnan in “Mamma Mia.” But while having to sing powerful lines during heartrending scenes about class warfare, poverty, disease, and death in 19th-century France, it’s a whole other thing to not be up to the task. Crowe’s flat notes and strained delivery prove distracting any time he’s on screen, and the otherwise incredible work of live theater veteran Jackman — Crowe’s most frequent scene partner — also ends up suffering as a result. 

As the Austin Chronicle said in its review of the movie, “When ‘Les Misérables’ is good, it is very, very good, and when it is bad, it’s usually because Russell Crowe has opened his mouth.”

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