There’s a good reason why Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus was known as
“the greatest show on earth,” and it’s well reflected in director Michael Gracey’s
musical film, “The Greatest Showman.” The exhilarating biopic stars Hugh Jackman,
Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya. “The Greatest Showman” tells the story of
visionary P. T. Barnum, his rise to stardom, and the birth of show business.
After living an impoverished childhood, Barnum (Jackman) is determined to make a
name for himself and his family by creating something the world has never seen,
something utterly spectacular. By assembling a troupe of unique individuals and
extraordinary oddities and partnering with a show savvy aristocrat (Efron), Barnum
creates a world of wonder and amazement in the form of a grand circus. But in a time
where economic pressures are mounting, and the unique are often seen as outcasts,
Barnum must overcome both social adversity and his expanding ego if his show is to
be a success.
In true Barnum fashion, “The Greatest Showman” is an awe-inspiring, spectacular
delight for all ages. The film is visually and musically stunning. With the intense first
chords of the opening number, this movie pulls the audience in and doesn’t surrender
them until the very end.
Jackman delivers a powerful and moving performance as Barnum, but his troupe of
bizarrely beautiful performers steals this show. Keala Settle, who portrays the
bearded lady, delivers a powerhouse musical performance that moviegoers won’t soon
forget. Zendaya shines as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler; her acrobatics both stun and
enchant and help to give the film a bit of magical flair.
The cinematography is bright, whimsical and flawless, but what makes this film
shine is its incredible score. The lyricists behind the musical hit “La La Land” have
made musical magic yet again with a collection of unrelentingly catchy, upbeat, and
motivational numbers that will have patrons dancing in their seats. Each song
produces a case of excitement fueled goosebumps, especially the empowering ballad
“This is Me,” which took home a Golden Globe for the best original song.
“The Greatest Showman” recounts the events of Barnum’s life with stunning and
emotional accuracy while also delivering an impact message about self- acceptance. It’s the kind of cinematic spectacle of which P.T. Barnum would have been proud. Don’t miss a chance to take in this spellbinding show before it leaves the theaters.