The Greatest Showman Review
February 1, 2018
Ladies and gents this is the moment you’ve waited for. Been searching in the dark, trying to find your seat in the theater. Buried in your bones is an excitement that you can’t ignore. You are in your seat to see “The Greatest Showman”, a show that will transport you to a place where anything is possible and everything that is real is left behind.
The first film from director Michael Gracey has set the bar high for his career. Once you step foot into the life of P.T Barnum, one of the greatest showman the world has ever seen, you forget your reality. The origin of the circus started from the rubble and turned into a place where you could forget the real world for awhile and live in a dream. Using original music and an outstanding cast, (Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya) “The Greatest Showman” is a wonderful family movie. The film follows characters as they share their inner selves and embrace who they’re meant to be in front of the world. The movie discusses controversial topics that were present in the 1800s and those that are still present modern day. A message widely broadcasted throughout the film is to never be afraid of showing the world who you truly are. Whether black or white, woman or man, small or tall, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Barnum finds each character in the circus when he seeks people with unique talents, who are considered “freaks.” His show attracts an audience who wish to see people that are abnormal. It is a quick hit and people are entertained with the talent and difference the acts portrayed. A singing bearded lady, an abnormally tall man and an abnormally short one, trapeze acts and more appeared in Barnum’s circus. Barnum is quickly swept up in the fame and criticism, which causes conflict with others in his life. The movie follows Barnum as he finds the meaning in his fame and family while also trailing struggles with an interracial couple and a grapple of self-confidence in the bearded lady. The musical numbers and chemistry between the characters makes for an emotional story of self-love and embracing who you want to be, all while not caring what others think and focusing your attention on the important things in life.
While the movie discusses the joyous side of Barnum’s creation, critics shake their head with dismay at the portrayal of the man himself. The film, while highlighting many true events, fails to touch on how Barnum treated the people in the circus in real life and leaves out Barnum’s racism. People say that Barnum didn’t deserve a movie with such a message of equality because he wasn’t known to be a great guy in that aspect.
“This isn’t the story of Barnum’s life, but a formulaic rags-to-riches story grafted onto the broad outlines of Barnum’s career as a circus entrepreneur.” says critic Matthew Rozsa. Putting aside the fact that the movie leaves out the gruesome bit of Barnum’s story, the director does a great job of highlighting the man that created show business as we see it today. Barnum created the greatest show involving different types of entertainment that we see modern day and may not have if it were not for his creation.
Overall, Gracey created a movie that encourages being yourself and going against what society thinks of you, no matter the consequences. The struggles people find in modern society of equality and acceptance are applied to each character in the film. I give this movie a 10/10 and believe that if you want a reason to smile and sing along to an irresistible soundtrack, this is the movie for you and your family to see. The noblest art is that of making others happy, and Michael Gracey did just that.
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