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The Greatest Showman is truly the greatest show (Review)

Emily Yurchison

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If you love musicals, fun characters, and the circus, The Greatest Showman is the perfect movie for you. Between the upbeat dancing, beautiful songs, and fun-loving characters, your smile certainly will not be fake when walking out of the theater.

The movie starts out fast, immediately throwing you into song with the Barnum Circus’s performance of “The Greatest Show”. The song ends halfway through, however, with a flashback to the childhood of P.T. Barnum (Ellis Rubin). It tells the tale of how Barnum met his future wife, Charity Hallett (Skylar Dunn), and transitions back to the present P.T. (Hugh Jackman) and Charity (Michelle Williams) through the song “A Million Dreams”. They have the typical love story of a poor boy winning the rich girl’s heart, but it is executed well.

Barnum loses his job soon into the film, and fears leaving his wife and daughters Caroline (Austyn Johnson) and Helen (Cameron Seely) in even more poverty, despite Charity enjoying the risk of an unstable life.

After attempting to draw in crowds with his new wax figure museum, Barnum begins a search for “peculiar people”, and has soon created an extravagant show that wows audiences nightly. The wide range of people of all colors, shapes, and sizes is described as a “celebration of humanity,”  and this is shown especially in the song “This is Me”, in which the “misfits” of society express their pride in who they are.

The struggles of an interracial romance is shown through Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), from the dirty looks for simply holding hands to the internal struggle of being judged portrayed beautifully in their song “Rewrite The Stars”, during which Zendaya does all of her trapeze stunts.

The Greatest Showman was the fifth soundtrack in ten years to spend multiple weeks as #1 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, and as it is written by the Grammy award winning super-duo Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, this is not surprising. Every song had me singing along after only one listen, and it seems many people agree. The song “This Is Me” has even received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture, and Settle will be performing the song live at the event. All of the songs are beautifully sung, whether by Jackman, Williams, Settle, or anyone else on the soundtrack.

Many critics are upset that the movie fails to highlight the more negative characteristics of Barnum, but I feel that including them, while accurate, would have dragged the movie down. I personally enjoyed the happy feeling that remained with me after seeing it each time, despite its multiple tear-jerking moments.

This movie was compelling enough for me to see in theaters three times and still leave the desire to see it again, and as someone who rarely watches movies multiple times and has never seen a movie in theaters multiple times, that is saying something. The cinematographer Seamus McGarvey did a magnificent job, and the way we see performances from multiple angles emulates both what it would be like to be performing the show and what it would be like to watch the performance simultaneously, which makes them all the more impressive.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is an incredible movie with songs that will leave you singing for days. Jackman truly proves to be The Greatest Showman, and wonderfully portrays the man who invented show business.

Rating: 9

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The Greatest Showman is truly the greatest show (Review)