MPAA Rating: R
for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Studio: 20th Century Fox Pictures
Runtime: 105 minutes
Directed by: Michael Gracey
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Keala Settle, Zac Efron,Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
P.T. Barnum brought laughs, entertainment, mystery, animals (fierce and composed) and imagination to people all over the country for those able to attend the circus. So what better time with the circus’s shrinking away than to see a film that brings back memories and adds music, drama, and incredible dancing by Ashley Wallen who choreographed all the dance scenes of the entire feature-length film?
It’s the 19th century and P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) has met Charity (Michelle Williams), the woman he wants to marry. He notices her well-off family is not excited about this as Barnum is far under their class! That doesn’t stop him; and he begins to get one idea after another to earn an income. Matched to today’s wealthy, many would call him a pioneer of today’s visionaries and entrepreneurs.
Barnum has a huge imagination and begins to dream about things people would like to see. He’s determined to work hard and make Charity proud. She’s so in lovewith him it’s all fine with her. But after two daughters arrive he needs to get serious and opens the American Museum in New York. When waxworks and stuffed animals don’t draw people in he rounds up a group of very odd people such as the bearded lady (Keala Settle), a dog-faced boy, a tattooed man, and others some call freaks. Some laugh at him in the beginning, but soon that show begins to pay off.
Not only in the film but for those watching as we’re submerged in an exciting Hollywood fantasy of music, superb dancers, and how could they not be with Hugh Jackman leading the singers¬¬ …like Swedish nightingale Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) turning the floor into a great flood of acrobatics, dazzling choreography and magnificent costumes. It’s like La La Land for Adults as audience members in the theater I attended were joining in with foot-stomping and clapping. The drama rises when bad things happen to the circus and P.T makes some good and some bad decisions.
Australian filmmaker Michael Gracey makes his feature film directorial debut with this film and aquired original songs by Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) with a multi-talented cast headed by Academy Award® nominee Hugh Jackman. He devoted himself for years to bring the film to the screen.
“It’s not exaggerating to say that Barnum ushered in modern-day America – and especially the idea that your talent, your imagination and your ability to work hard should be the only things that determine your success, Jackman said.” “He knew how to make something out of nothing, how to turn lemons into lemonade. I’ve always loved that quality. He followed his own path, and turned any setback he had into a positive. So many things I aspire to in my life are embodied in this one character.”
Watching Jackman at work, Producer Mark recalls: “I thought, wow, this guy’s the greatest showman on earth – and that’s when I went to P.T. Barnum in my head. Hugh is just about the only person in the world who could be both Wolverine and P.T. Barnum, actually. There’s just something in Hugh’s DNA that allows him to walk on a stage and take charge of it so easily, naturally and charismatically. I suggested to him that we should make a musical about Barnum and it turned out, he was completely open to it.”
Leaving the theater with friends they all commented how fun that movie was, as did many others walking out, and several saying it was better than they expected. The cast was great, the music superb; I may see it again as well!