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The Greatest Showman Review

Claudia Standeford, Staffer

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The classic rags to riches story just got a little more spectacular. When The Greatest Showman hit theatres in early December, audiences were in awe of the real-life story of P.T. Barnum. This adaptation of his story comes with a twist- it is an original musical. The film celebrates humanity and uniqueness of people who do not fit societal norms. With three nominations and one win at the Golden Globes, this movie has gotten quite some social buzz, and for good reason.

 

P.T Barnum becomes rich and famous, despite being told countless times by his soon to be father in law that he would never amount to anything. His story is not without struggle though. His circus starts as a museum, but after little success he reworks the oddities into a live show, the first of its kind. His cast contains a bearded lady, trapeze artists, live elephants, a tattooed man and many other “freaks” that folks in the 1800s would likely be thrown off by. The story ticks on topics of racism, acceptance, success and failure, making it relatable to all viewers.

 

In the movie, a critic goes to the circus and views a show. He  describes his show as a “celebration of humanity.”  Not only does it fit this, but The Greatest Showman also shows how to love oneself, despite any differences one may have. Embracing your flaws and living life to the fullest is a major theme throughout the film.

 

Hugh Jackman plays the lead P.T Barnum, among other stars like Michelle Williams, Zendaya and Zac Efron. Williams plays Charity, the wife of P.T. Barnum. Throughout every hardship Barnum’s wife Charity stood by him and supported him in wealth and in poverty. Zendaya’s role as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler was a significant one, considering her ethnic background. She confronts racism like many African-Americans faced during that time. Zac Efron plays Phillip Carlyle, who has a romantic relationship with Anne Wheeler. Their interracial relationship becomes another key topic in the film, and addresses issues that are still societally scandalous.

 

Barnum searches for the most unique people for his show, teaching them how to embrace the things that makes them different. Whether your a lady with a beard or a man covered in tattoos, you are welcomed and praised for who you are in this show.

 

Since this film is an original musical, the scoring was a crucial aspect of the storyline. The men behind the music, Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, also scored the hit movie La La Land last year. The Greatest Showman’s sole Golden Globe win was thanks to the film’s scorers, as they won Best Original Song. The song “This is Me,” snagged them the win against other popular movies this year like Pixar’s Coco and Blue Sky’s Ferdinand. The film’s soundtrack has been the number one album on the Billboard charts since early January, and remained has there.

 

After watching this film, I would highly recommend it. Not only is it a family friendly film, but it is incredibly inspiring. The musical aspect adds a flair that P.T. Barnum himself would be proud of, and the songs will surely stick in your head long after viewing. This film celebrates humanity with comedic and dramatic aspects alike. The Greatest Showman is now playing in theatres.

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