The Greatest Showman
Lights, camera, action takes place in centre stage with actor Hugh Jackman playing famed circus showman PT Barnum in the new movie The Greatest Showman. Coming off the heels of the Oscar-winning film La La Land, The Greatest Showman seizes the moment to capitalise on moviegoers’ interest by bringing another whimsical tale of singing, dancing, and a tale of following your dreams (i.e. making it big). The big question is…. does The Greatest Showman outshine La La Land? Well, to be honest, yes and no.
Being born the son of a struggling tailor, Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman) didn’t have an easy life, struggling to find his way in the world, while repeatedly reminded of his station in society and the hardships that come with it. Determined to make something of himself, Barnum makes a reasonable life with Charity (Michelle Williams), a girl from a wealthy family, who soon welcomes two daughters in their lives. After being dismissed by his current employment, Barnum sparks to the idea of a freak show in the middle of New York City, opening a museum of grotesqueries that’s soon home to outcasts of all kinds, eager to showcase their “uniqueness” to a horrified but intrigued society. Within time, Barnum builds his empire, achieving his dreams and soon taking the young Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), a bored playwright who falls in love with trapeze artist, Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), under his wing as an apprentice as well as showcasing esteemed singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) in a quest to achieve legitimacy within the upper echelon of society. However, Barnum’s desire for personal mainstream acceptance is a dangerous one, one that causes harm to his beloved business and to his family.
Director Michael Gracey’s newest film has all right ingredients for a musical motion picture, highlighting the colourful extravaganza of Barnum’s show as well as facing the trials of showmanship and the pitfalls of bringing something “different” to the public. While the movie seems rushed in its narrative and lacks substance at various parts (story-wise and character development), it makes up for it with its vibrant set-pieces, flashy choreography, catchy musical numbers, a meaningful message of acceptance and its likeable cast, especially within Jackman’s performance. Whatever you take away from this picture (good, bad, or indifferent), The Greatest Showman succeeds in being a melodic showstopper of glitz, glamour and art of show business. Basically, fans of musicals will enjoy this film more so than the casual moviegoer. To quote Barnum: “The noblest art is that of making others happy” ….and that’s what many will find within this feature.
The Greatest Showman is released nationwide on 26th December 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Greatest Showman here: