The Greatest Showman
Director: Michael Gracey
Story by: Jenny Bicks
Screenplay by: Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon
Producers: Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya
Run Time: 1h 45min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical
4 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
This movie is incredibly entertaining. The only reason you would maybe consider not seeing it is if you don’t like good music and if you don’t want to be entertained. The story is fantastic, the performances are glorious; it’s a legitimate musical and a captivating yarn, as well. Director, Michael Gracey, did an exceptional job handling the script by bringing the story of a man who dreams big and makes big dreams come true. You’d probably think it’s impossible to make a compelling musical about the beginning of The Greatest Show on Earth but Gracey did just that and made one of the greatest romances of the year, too.
The beginning number prepares you instantly for something extreme and magical. Once you’re fixed and ready, you get just a spectacular show and much, much more. In fact, it isn’t inconceivable that everyone in your row will be tapping their feet and singing along to some of the tunes as they’re quite easy to pick up on. Directly after the screening I attended, I went to the nearest store that carried the soundtrack and bought a copy. I have been listening to it in my car ever since. Some songs are better than others but they’re all good and knowing the lyrics, I can’t wait to see this again.
Gracey takes us from Hugh Jackman, as P.T. Barnum, singing ‘The Greatest Show’ into ‘A Million Dreams’ where young Barnum is a poor child in love with a rich man’s daughter… and she with him. They sing together as he ages and becomes a man of the same dreams of having it all in the world he designs for himself, and more.
The song ‘The Other Side’ is very memorable. Phillip Carlyle (Efron) and Barnum dance in a well-choreographed scene where Carlyle, a rich socialite who enjoys theatre, is being asked to join the show. Realizing he needs a business partner who can bring his theatre more attention, Barnum approaches him in a creative scene as they work out the details. Pay attention to the bartender as the number progresses.
A theatre critic who comes to the show abuses Barnum on a regular basis but the dialogue when he’s on screen, as well as the interaction between them, is some of the best the film has to offer. You’ll appreciate the irony created by his presence. He considers the show Barnum has put together to be a circus and Barnum capitalizes on that. He’s protective of his performers but embraces the idea of bringing more people in, using the word circus to describe what the audience has to look forward to. Once he does, the show explodes and it becomes instantly more popular and profitable.
Sadly, when some performers get cut out of fancy champagne galas, they begin feeling like the sideshow freaks he sells them as.
I could go on and on but maybe you should just see it and hear it for yourself. I promise you that you’ll be blown away by Jackman, Williams and Efron and the rollercoaster of emotions that you go through watching this person try to be the World’s Greatest Dad, as well as have the Greatest Show on Earth. The film is engaging, stimulating, and quite humorous at times and I haven’t even told you about the best song! I’ll let you discover that on your own. See this with the family, or better yet, cuddle up with the one you love. Either way, you’ll appreciate every frame, note and routine and if you enjoyed La La Land, these two musicals share the same lyricist so that’s another thing for you to consider. My recommendation is, see it at the theatre and see it as soon as you can!