The Greatest Showman: Movie Review

by , Friday April 6, 2018
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The Greatest Showman: Movie Review

The Greatest Showman: Movie Review

An awesome review of the new movie by Chrissy Sky

 

We’re dreaming with our eyes wide open . . .

 

The Greatest Showman was inspired by the true story of P.T. Barnum (portrayed by Hugh Jackman) who is best known for the creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American travelling circus beginning in 1871 and described as ‘the greatest show on earth’. This is the inspiring tale of an impoverished child with a million dreams, dreams that eventually came true by virtue of ambition and daring to be different.

 

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”

― P.T. Barnum

 

 

Arguably one of the best film releases of 2017, The Greatest Showman has made 263.4 million US dollars in the Box Office so far, with that figure only rising into February 2018. It’s safe to say that this film exceeded everyone’s expectations. So much so, that The Greatest Showman received 3 Golden Globe nominations and won ‘Best Original Song’ with “This Is Me”, written by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, both of whom coincidentally co-wrote the soundtrack for La La Land, the musical that won a total of 6 Academy Awards. A rather marvelous achievement, don’t you think?

 

Directed by Michael Gracey and starring big names like Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Williams and Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman really does have the greatest cast. And who knew Hugh Jackman could SING?! Like, really sing! I certainly was not expecting that ravishing voice to be one of the highlights of this movie. The soundtrack as a whole is just sensational, and rather addictive - I can’t stop listening to it! Even now while I’m writing this review, “The Other Side” is playing at full blast in my earphones (not gonna lie, that one’s my favourite). As well as winning a Golden Globe, the movie’s most notable song, “This Is Me”, also made it to the Top 10 in UK music charts at the start of 2018 and is lyrically the most dominant and empowering. It makes a statement, one that everyone can associate with in some way or another.

 

What’s more intriguing is how each song is integrated into the visuals and the story. It’s so seamless and perfectly orchestrated. For instance, P.T. Barnum and Phillip Carlyle’s rendezvous in the bar when they sing “The Other Side” is done SO well! Background sounds like the shot glasses being slammed down on the counter are used as a refrain/interlude in the recording of the song. Another example is “Never Enough” being the song that Jenny Lind actually performed on tour with P.T. Barnum, as opposed to the song solely being used to enhance the story and one’s understanding of the character’s emotions. Although in the case of this song, it was used for both purposes and became a part of the story itself.

 

On the whole, I like how diverse the The Greatest Showman soundtrack is, and how every song can make you feel something. It’s also incredibly entertaining to sing along to ;)

 

 

One thing that I thought stood out from seeing this movie was how little we see of the characters’ backstories and how unrealistically quickly they develop. To me, it all seemed very sudden. Barnum went from being perceived as a foolish clown by the public to becoming a successful showman in the space of 20 minutes. Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) appear to fall in love at first sight. Their love story moves so quickly that we don’t get to see how their affection for each other evolves and flourishes. It just sort of… happens. I realize that the movie takes place over several months and years, but I felt as if this was so seamless that I didn’t really notice the shift in time. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just something that I feel would have improved the film, given the story more substance and made the characters that bit stronger.

 

Having said that, I loved how the character of Lettie Lutz (originally called Annie Jones in real life) was portrayed by the phenomenal Keala Settle. She brought across emotion that I have never seen before in any movie. You could really feel how her constant battle with herself and the society around her was tearing down her walls, and it was divine watching her personality change as she was given strength and courage by joining ‘the Greatest Show on Earth’, where she was accepted and there were others who felt the same way she did. Keala Settle’s acting is so good that you can see those raw emotions simply by her physical appearance. She took the lead in the movie’s anthem, “This Is Me” and killed it in rehearsal. Seriously, it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen, it gave me goosebumps watching it.

 

 

Now let’s take a moment to talk about how unbelievably brave P.T. and Charity Barnum are for tempting death on that rooftop near the beginning of the movie. Like, seriously, I’d have trust issues if my husband almost danced me off the edge of a however-many-storey building in 19th century New York with 2 kids seconds away from becoming orphans, no matter how handsome and charming he was. Just a thought.

 

Despite me being silly, I really did love The Greatest Showman. It was enchanting and beautiful and entertaining all at once. It made me want to join the circus and it left me wonderstruck coming out of the theatre after seeing it for the first time. That, my friends, is the sign of an epic movie. The Greatest Showman has its flaws like every film does, but it’s a remarkable true story of the magic humanity can create when we chase after our dreams whatever the cost, and accept every person as unique and wonderful in their own right.

 

 

I give The Greatest Showman 4.5 / 5 stars.

 

*We rounded down ;)

       4/5 stars

 

Thank you to Chrissy Sky for writing this review & creating the banner

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