“The Greatest Showman” Review: A Modern Musical About the First Circus
2017 was a great year for movies. I saw many good movies last year such as “Bladerunner 2049”, “Atomic Blonde”, “Coco”, and “The Last Jedi” but in my opinion, the best one was “The Greatest Showman”. It is a colorful, lively musical that is a treat for your eyes and ears.
The movies starts with P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman) and his mean father working for a rich family. P.T. falls in love with their daughter Charity (played by Michelle Williams) and over the years they write letters to each other even though they come from different backgrounds (He lives in the streets; She lives in a nice big house). When they are both adults, they marry and move to an apartment in the city. This all happens during a song, which is incredible. After marrying Charity and having two children(one of them played by Cameron Seely, who lives in Darien!!!), he buys an old museum which he fills with weird things but it fails. He decides to instead find “freaks” to fill his museum instead, which proves to be a success, despite critics saying that it is bad. He believes that the public can’t see the wonders of his museum and tries his best to prove that it is worth seeing.
The music in this movie is really good but unfortunately it is forgettable. They are a mix of pop and musical music and it was a bit underwhelming. The songs are powerful and loud but I can barely remember them. This is not good because the whole selling point of “The Greatest Showman” are the songs. The music was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the music for “La La Land”. I’ve heard mixed opinions about the music in “La La Land” but I downloaded the soundtrack and remembered why I liked it. I don’t feel the same way with “The Greatest Showman”. Surprisingly, most people did not expect this movie to be a musical.
The cast for this movie are amazing and talented. Hugh Jackman plays P.T. Barnum, a man who seeks wealth and fame and will do anything to get it. Jackman does a really good job of portraying Barnum as a success-driven person. Michelle Williams plays his wife, Charity Barnum. Zac Efron plays Phillip Carlyle, a playwright who decides to work with Barnum because the theatre industry is boring to him. During a rehearsal he falls in love with Anne Turner(played by Zendaya), who is a trapeze artist who performs with her brother. Carlyle’s wealthy, elite parents do not approve of his romance with Anne and that causes a conflict between them. Zendaya and Zac Efron have great chemistry and you want their relationship to work despite what society wants. “She [Zendaya is] one of the most incredible young people I’ve ever met” Actor Hugh Jackman said.
“The Greatest Showman” is Michael Gracey’s first foray into directing. He has a love for musicals that he has had since childhood: “When Gracey was a child, his mother, Lorenda, took and his music-mad siblings to every musical that came to town in Melbourne” Vogue said. He was picked to direct this movie in 2011 and has worked hard to bring it to life. “It became a passion project for everyone involved” Gracey said.
The performances from the freaks are phenomenal. All of the performers are so fluent in their movement and it’s so exciting and fun to watch. I wish there more scenes like this and I wanted to see more scenes where they focused on everyone’s talents instead of their singing. Most of the freaks’ talents are barely mentioned, except for the main characters. One thing that bothers me is that there are some random performers who aren’t even introduced to the audience. I know it would be tedious to introduce 20+ characters, but I think we should get to know them better. I think most of the audience wouldn’t know who most of these characters are, besides the ones the movie introduces.
My final rating for this movie is a 7/10. I loved everything about this movie but the songs are forgettable, which wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t its selling point.