Title: The Greatest Showman (2017)
Directed by: Michael Gracey
Screenplay by: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
Story by: Jenny Bicks
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Seattle, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eric Anderson, Ellis Rubin, Skylar Dunn, Daniel Everidge, Radu Spinghel, and Paul Sparks
Music by: John Debney, Joseph Trapanese
Genres: Biography, Drama, Musical, Romance
Running Time: 105 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements including a brawl
Production Companies: Chernin Entertainment, Seed Productions, Laurence Mark Productions, TSG Entertainment
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
I’ve been wanting to watch The Greatest Showman ever since I watched its trailer. However, I only got the chance to watch it recently. The first reason why I wanted to watch this film is the fact that Hugh Jackman played the main lead. Since he’s one of my favourite actors, I think it’s a must for me to watch this film. The second reason is that the film is about the birth of show business. P. T. Barnum was the guy who basically invented show business. That’s what they all said and that is why I am so curious about the film. Some people may not like the film because it’s a musical film which basically the characters would be singing nearly all the time, but believe me, this film is really worth it.
At first, I thought The Greatest Showman would be like Les Misérables (2012), in which Hugh Jackman played the main lead too. In a way, these two films were similar. Both were musical film and the characters were singing nearly all the time. However, the amount of singing time in Les Misérables was more than The Greatest Showman. I wasn’t complaining but with too many singing, sometimes I got confused and forgot about the storyline. I know that’s what musical films are about but sometimes, that’s how I felt. Luckily, The Greatest Showman has the right amount of singing moments and therefore I can really enjoy the story as a whole. I don’t hate Les Misérables but I prefer The Greatest Showman. Les Misérables is more serious with some politics and wars in it, while The Greatest Showman is more fun. After all, The Greatest Showman is about show business. Now, let’s talk about the cast of The Greatest Showman.
“The noblest art is that of making others happy.” – P. T. Barnum
Hugh Jackman is no stranger to musical film. Like I’ve said, he played one of the main characters in Les Misérables, which was a musical film too. Not to mention he has done a lot of musical theatrical before. His singing voice is just great. With that kind of voice, Hugh Jackman can become a professional singer too. Of course, his acting doesn’t need to be questioned because he did it flawlessly. The emotions showed from his eyes, his facial expressions, his dancing skill was great. I think Hugh Jackman is really perfect for the role of Phineas Taylor Barnum. He is brilliant in the film. His singing, dancing, and acting performances were outstanding. Truly.
I’ve seen Michelle Williams several times before and she always in her iconic pixie cut hair. This is the second time I saw her in longer hair and she looks so beautiful with it. The first time I saw her with long hair was in Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). In this film, Michelle Williams played the role of Charity Barnum, the wife of P. T. Barnum. I never heard Michelle Williams sang before and therefore, quite amazed at her beautiful voice in the film. Seriously. She has a very beautiful voice.
The love story between P. T. Barnum and Charity is rather cliché but still nicely done. The chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams is very nice. Even when they were dancing and singing together, everything looked beautiful. Their dancing moves were great and in sync. I’m sure it’s not an easy thing to dance when you’re not actually a dancer or don’t dance quite as much—let alone did it while singing. I am sure both Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams have to practice so much before did it. As a result, everything came out beautifully. The singing, the dancing—the uplifting and such—everything looked great. Both Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams really made a good couple. Not just as husband and wife but also as dancing partners.
Zendaya has caught a lot of attention lately. Her last film that I saw was Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). In The Greatest Showman, Zendaya played the role of Anne Wheeler. She’s an acrobat and a trapeze artist. I heard she did her trapeze stunts all by herself and that made her more awesome. I mean, trapeze is not an easy thing to do—not that I have tried, but by the looks of it, we know it needs years of practice and courage to do it. Of course, Zendaya must have worn safety wire and such, but still, it’s pretty awesome to do the stunts by herself.
Zendaya’s love interest is Phillip Carlyle, played by Zac Efron. The character of Phillip Carlyle is partly based on James Anthony Bailey, who happened to be P. T. Barnum’s partner in real life. Together, they established Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. Well, that’s the real-life event. In The Greatest Showman, the character of Bailey was replaced with Carlyle. At first, I don’t understand why they changed the character but as I watched the film, I began to understand. I think I have, though I might be mistaken. His love story with Anne Wheeler is beautiful. It’s an issue itself because, in that kind of era, people with colour were still being looked with one eye. They weren’t appreciated yet and people still think they were housemaids and such. Therefore, the love story between Phillip Carlyle and Anne Wheeler would meet challenges and obstacles. How they overcame it, later on, was something worth to wait for. It was beautifully told and rather heroic too. I am not trying to spoil anything, but the performance of Zac Efron and Zendaya when they did the song “Rewrite the Stars” is just beautiful, seriously. I think Zac Efron and Zendaya have a great chemistry together.
Rebecca Ferguson played the role of Jenny Lind, an opera singer with a golden voice. The moment she showed up, I knew there would be some kind of trouble in P. T. Barnum’s and Charity Barnum’s marriage life. Although the character was portrayed by Jenny Lind, the singing voice of the character was provided by Loren Allred and her voice is indeed very beautiful. Please don’t judge Rebecca Ferguson because even though her singing voice was provided by someone else, she still sang in front of the cast and crew and therefore, on film, she really looked like she was singing. It was a beautiful combination. Rebecca Ferguson admitted that she has learnt singing before but to provide the voice of the best opera singer in the world, she didn’t think she has that voice and therefore, her character’s singing voice was dubbed with other’s. Still, you’ll know that Ferguson did actually sing by her gesture. Her facial expressions, emotions, and overall gesture were so convincing that you wouldn’t doubt that she actually sang the song.
All the other cast have done their parts really good as well. Even the youngest cast that played the role of P. T. Barnum’s children and younger version of P. T. Barnum and Charity Barnum did great. The singing and the dancing, everything and everyone in the film looked beautiful and very fun. I am sure all the cast have to practice a lot of doing the dancing scenes. Like really a lot because everything came out in sync. One or two times practice won’t do. They need dozens of times or maybe even hundreds. The Greatest Showman is indeed a very fun film with all the attractions. The film is really entertaining and enjoyable to watch. I love all the songs, especially “This is Me” and “Never Enough”. I also like “Rewrite the Stars”, “A Million Dreams”, and “The Greatest Show”. The overall songs are very good. The beats and all are very nice to hear. I think “This is Me” is the most inspiring song, especially for those who have felt the sting of social stigma, who found themselves unlike others in society. These days, being unique and unusual is not a bad thing. It’s something we have to embrace. Not only from the song but also from the film, we were taught as much. All the songs are beautiful and enthralling.
I like the life lesson given in this film. There are so many, I must say. To begin with, in show business, no matter how unusual, how unique you are, you will always have a place. It doesn’t matter what colour you are, what race you are, as long as you have the thrive to do entertainment, as long as you have an act, you are all welcome. I think it’s a beautiful message seeing how much racism issues are still on hype. The second thing that we can learn from this film is to never forget where you came from and who you are once you are rich or famous because once you forget about it, it most likely will make you fail. We have to remember that family is important. No matter how successful you are, you must never forget about them. I think those lessons are really great and inspiring.
Overall, I like the visual and the music from The Greatest Showman. However, some CGI effects were not as perfect as some other films but it wasn’t much big of a deal since I enjoyed the story and the singing and of course, the dancing. It’s not the greatest show ever but it is very fun. The amount of songs throughout the film is just right and not exaggerating. After La La Land (2016), people expect to see more musical films. I don’t know about La La Land since I haven’t gotten the chance to finish it but you can count on The Greatest Showman. It’s stunning and great for children and adults. I didn’t feel bored when I’m watching this film, unlike when I watched La La Land. Perhaps that’s the reason I couldn’t stick until the end when watching La La Land, while I have a great fun in watching The Greatest Showman. The story may not entirely true, but it is still inspiring and very much enjoyable to watch. The singing and acting performances from every cast are great.
I give The Greatest Showman 9 out of 10 stars.