If you’ve been on social media lately, you have undoubtedly witnessed the widespread and resounding praise for The Greatest Showman in the form of a “WOW!” and “RUN to the theater!” followed by a string of exclamation marks.
My husband and I saw it shortly after it released. Going in, I honestly knew very little about it. Everyone was raving and we wanted to see a movie. I like the circus and I love a good story so it was an obvious choice. On the drive to the theater, when my husband mentioned it being a musical, I was a bit surprised. I know, it was a “head in the sand” moment for me. I recalled Jackman’s performance in the 2012 version of Les Miserables, and it made perfect sense. Until this movie, however, I had little knowledge of the depth of Hugh Jackman’s gifts and talents.
The Greatest Showman billed as a spectacle and inspired by the life of P. T. Barnum is a “must see”. While not a true telling of the reality of Barnum’s life, the viewer can imagine the wonder and magic of what he created. Add to that the original music created by Justin Paul and Benj Paske, it is indeed wonderful and magical. Paul and Paske offer songs that will bury their way deep into your heart and stay long after you exit the theater. The soundtrack is sure to be played on repeat through many a speaker and earbud.
The film is definitely worthy of all the accolades it is receiving. The message of inclusion and how misfits, shunned by even their own families, can and should fit in and find family is clearly resonating with the masses. Through the stories of the characters in the movie, it is likely that viewers will be able to recognize elements of their own stories forming a very relatable and personal connection.
Unfavorable characteristics are exemplified in a conversation between Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and his first recruit, Charles Stratton/Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey), “They’re going to laugh at you anyway, you might as well make some money.” Other gloomy circumstances could distract from good intentions
While viewers could take away adverse feelings from the film, the negative aspects are outweighed by how Barnum succeeded in creating a sense of family for his recruits as well as himself.
The storyline takes us on a journey as Barnum finds his way through life’s twists and turns as a son, a man, a husband, a dad, a friend, a businessman, and even an enemy to some. Charity Barnum’s (Michelle Williams) unwavering support for her husband, and misfits finding their family to the “forbidden” love story between (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya). These elements of humanity make it easy for the viewer to find themselves somewhere in the story.
Magnificently creative and masterfully created, The Greatest Showman, a film nearly seven years in the making, easily makes it way up to the top of my “all-time favorites” list.
Once you’ve seen the movie, you will undoubtedly regret that it’s over. Your next step will be to devour all of the behind the scenes footage and interviews on YouTube. You will then anxiously await, with thousands of others, for the movie to come out for home viewing so you can own it and watch it whenever you please.
The Greatest Showman gets a hearty “WOW!” and a “RUN to the theater!” from me.
Director: Michael Gracey
Story by Jenny Bicks
Screenplay by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon
Producers: Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping
Cast: Hugh Jackman; Zac Efron; Michelle Williams; Rebecca Ferguson; Zendaya.
Watch the trailer: