Plot: Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
I’m speedily typing this out before I don’t finish again and then couldn’t be bothered to save my draft – yes, I did that three times. The Greatest Showman is a great way to start 2018. I really enjoyed this uplifting, beautiful and gorgeously crafted film and I was legitimately upset when it finished – I wanted more and still want more. A quick look into PT Barnum’s actual life is enough to tell you that this film isn’t a true depiction of his life. He seems to have been a driven and successful businessman, surely nice, but not the outstanding charm that Hugh Jackman brings to this movie. How charming is he? How excellent does he sing and dance? It is beautiful. Michelle Williams is also stunning in this role, I’ve never before quite liked her quite this much. She is a motherly presence and her scenes with the two daughters are beautiful and playful. Then there is Zac Efron, who seems the most comfortable in life when he can be artistic – every film of his where he’s actually been good in is some sort of musical. He’s charming and dazzling, and uses his expressive eyes to lure you into his love for Anne (Zendaya), the flexible and gorgeous trapeze artist who has had one too many rich person sneer at her. The love story wasn’t necessary, but it was still sweet.
In a time where people out of the norm is under attack, The Greatest Showman takes a clear line in defense with its’ celebration of the strange and unusual, showing they have a place in this world and deserves respect. The townspeople who so vehemently opposes PT Barnum’s circus is perhaps just a bit of social commentary on the current residing office in a whole lot of countries. They don’t understand, so they hate. Yet the circus becomes a tight little group, and not even Barnum’s sudden lack of interest in them when he spots Jenny Lind (Rebecca Fergusson) can stop them from remaining tightly knit. Fergusson did not do her own singing and merely acted the role, but she was utterly convincing as the up and coming Lind, who (if you look at Jackman in that red jacket you would too) develops a massive infatuation on Barnum, seeing their similar upbringings and struggles as an important link. Tragic strikes Barnum in multiple ways and he’s left with a damaged marriage and a tattered circus, but since this movie is all about happiness he rebuilds both quickly.
Is it idealistic? Yes. Is it highly improbably that Barnum was such a nice man? Definitely. However, the colors and choreography, combined with the acting, singing and wonderful set design, makes The Greatest Showman one of the most enjoyable films I have ever seen. It’s a bit early in the year to declare a film a favorite of the year (and also I’ve literally only seen one 2018 release yet), but if we measure only in pure enjoyment then I doubt anything will beat The Greatest Showman this year for me.