Within the first twenty minutes, there were already tears building in my eyes. That sensation remained through the rest of the movie, ebbing with the flow of the story. The Greatest Showman pulls you into its world with a dazzling and unapologetic excitement. The production concept brings the mid-late Victorian era together with the modern Broadway musical, and it’s a stunning combination. While The Greatest Showman is about P.T. Barnum and his early career, it is much more than a biography. It is a celebration of individual beauty and courage. It is a story about love and family. And it’s exceptionally moving. The music is all original and profoundly expressive, and the performances from each of the actors and actresses are extraordinary. The cast really seems to be a unified ensemble, and even Hugh Jackman’s starring role is met with grace and complexity by the rest.
This movie is not exactly a true representation of P.T. Barnum’s life, but more of an exploration of his spirit and the climate of the age. It drew an interesting parallel between the prejudices of the Victorian era and the prejudices we still face today. While maintaining its poignancy, the movie was playful and entertaining. There were a few moments, however, that struck me as a bit too overly sweet, both in a sentimental and a narrative sense. But I ultimately understood that those moments were natural to the tone. The Greatest Showman is very much an imaginative world based on reality. Much like P.T. Barnum’s imagination and ambition, this movie goes far beyond what is simply realistic. It is a remarkable portrayal of the power of love and imagination, and it remains artful, accessible, invigorating, and beautiful throughout.
Final Take: The Greatest Showman is a should see.
Director: Michael Gracey
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle
Screenplay: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
Original Songs: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Premiere: December 8, 2017 (RMS Queen Mary 2, New York City)
Theatrical Release: December 20, 2017