Release Date: December 20, 2017
Director: Michael Gracey
Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon, Jenny Bicks
Cast: Kevin Dwane, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Paul Sparks, Keala Settle, Gayle Rankin, Jacqueline Honulik, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Alex Wong, Gianna Ferazi, Fredric Lehne, Tina Benko, Sam Humphrey, Doris McCarthy, Ben Reed, Skylar Dunn, Timothy Hughes, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Will Swenson, Chris Silcox, Josh Fried, Ashley Griffin, Taylor James, Carly Adams, Morgane, Ellis Rubin, Sasha Gaulin, Emerson Tate Alexander, Katrina E. Perkins, Shannon Freyer, Jessica VanOss, Michael Wren Gucciardo, Kendall Beaulieu, Shawn Contois, Sammy Voit, GiaNina Paolantonio, Eleah Burman, Kristoffe Brodeur
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 105 minutes
Production Company: Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical
It wouldn’t be wise to speak for everyone, but most can probably say they’ve been to the circus at least once in their life as a child. It’s a true spectacle to witness all the obscure talents under one large tent with dazzling colors, outfits, tricks, and surprises popping out at all corners of the arena. So to show this spectacular display on the screen, it only seems fitting to do so within a theatrical musical. That’s what director Michael Gracey did in his film debut for The Greatest Showman. Teamed up with some of Hollywood’s most credible acting talents, Gracey showed what magic he has inside his own self, and crafted a film that is a true marvel being one of the more entertaining musical extravaganzas that is being exhibited on movie screens all year.
The Greatest Showman is a true origin story telling the first days of the late P.T. Barnum played by Hugh Jackman. Barnum was known as the brains behind the legendary Barnum and Bailey Circus that has gained popular appeal worldwide. This is Jackman’s 2nd musical with the first being Les Misérables (2012), and I hope that it isn’t his last. Not only is Jackman a phenomenal actor, but the man can also carry a note too. The story centers around him initially as a small boy with no more than a dirty bag of clothes, who dreams big of entertaining the world. The way Gracey brings this imagery to life on screen is mostly due to his style of directing, and editing. The intro is a powerful start to the film with the perfect amount of energy to get you going. And the way he integrates some of the set pieces together with the cast dancing on screen pumps up the volume to levels I’ve never seen before in any other film. The way the film transit from scene to scene within the music was seamless and broke away from any other previous forms of filmmaking.
The soundtrack itself with original songs is something I’d listen to on often occasion. I’ve never had this feeling unless the music is from a scored composition. All the music is invigorating, influencing you to grove back and forth, and tap your feet as you’re engrossed by its upbeat melodies in the theater. One song, in particular, touched my heart dearly, causing me to cry even while watching. While some may not agree, one thing that’s great about a circus performance is the level of the true expression it contains by all of its participants, so when this is magnified by a well-written song, that as well sound like it was voiced by an angel more meaningful. It didn’t feel like a movie, or a performance just to warrant tickets sales. It felt as if the cast was truly pouring out their hearts and souls about what life struggles they go through and face every day.
This is a period piece taken place in the 1800’s. All the set designs and costumes illuminated that time has been forgotten now. Jackman’s role isn’t the only on that stands out, as Zendaya, and Zac Efron’s performance stands to high caliber as well. It was nice not seeing just another batch of performances on the screen of the circus, but instead all the “behind the scenes mysteries” that take place when trying to collaborate such a magnificent show. Seeing P.T. Barnum’s life pull him in every direction possible, trying to balance it all, with his personal relationships, and the life of show business really set the tone on how important each detail was. He had some difficult decisions to make which affected him, so it was quite an ordeal to see what all he had to experience.
This film will speak to your heart on so many levels. It has a never-ending amount of sentimental value that anyone with a soul could attach to. One message behind it is to let you know it’s ok to be different, and embrace yourself, loving every iota of your being while doing so. That is the key to true happiness, and this film puts those notions on the forefront. In life, we all have to be realistic about what’s possible, but this film is about making your wildest dreams come true. It’s an inspiring piece of art that pulls at your heartstrings. And when it all came to an end, I was slightly disappointed, for no other reason but still wanting more. Which shows how great everything is and will by far be a film that I can’t wait to add to my personal collection.