by Catherine Goldberg ’20
On the coldest winter days, hitting up your local movie theater to see latest movies is the best way to make use of extra time. One of the markets latest and most successful films is The Greatest Showman.
The Greatest Showman is a captivating and light–hearted family film. It takes you back to the birth of show business, while also entangling modern music and costume and appealing to viewers ranging from old school critics to new school kids. The movie is inspired by the true story of P.T. Barnum’s (Hugh Jackman) creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and ties together the fascinating stories of its star attractions.
Helen O’Hara of Empire says, ”It may not be quite the greatest show on Earth, but Gracey, Jackman and the entire cast are deeply committed to entertaining and leave you feeling an old-school musical thrill. It can be hard looking back on the famous acts of the circus in comparison with modern day artists, bizarre performances, contemporary dance shows, and all the intriguing attractions in between; the fascination for the old-school circus is somewhat lost. However, director Michael Gracey does a great job of drawing on these retro roots and connecting it to modern contemporaries.
Kristin Smith of Plugged In says, The Greatest Showman paints a portrait of the metaphorical tightrope P.T. Barnum walked, and were drawn into his mesmerizing world.” The popular cast, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya, are perfectly glamorized to fit their character’s outrageous roles. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick used inspirations ranging from 19th century costumes to today’s most popular high-end brands to create a wardrobe of Barnum’s own beautiful fantasies.
P.T. Barnum grows up in a poor family, but falls in love with Charity, a girl who comes from wealth. They marry and live a humble life, but Barnum dreams of more. After losing his job, Barnum decides to take out a huge loan and buy a museum in local Manhattan where wax figures are showcased, but he gets the idea to showcase something ”alive.”
He decides to gather people considered ”freaks” to perform and so comes the Circus. Acrobats, a bearded lady, and the ”tallest man on earth,” among other ”freaks” perform exhilarating acts, and the circus makes headway.
Highlights of the film are the original songs from Justin Paul and Benj Psek, the Golden-Globe winning and Oscar- nominated track ”This is Me,” sung by Keala Settle. With an exceptional performance by Jackman, the musical is truly something meant to be seen in theaters. The film’s charming leads and circus scenes make it a fun pick for families. It is historical, musical, and brings audiences back to the magic of the circus.