Hugh Jackman stars in The Greatest Showman as P.T. Barnum, the man who starts the circus now known as the Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus.
As Barnum sets up his circus he must contend with bigotry and family drama that threatens to upset his career and his marriage.
The plot of the movie is fairly predictable for a musical and even more so given the source material. It comes as no surprise that Barnum’s circus is successful.
The weak plot leaves the enjoyment of the movie not in the story but in the storytelling. How good are the songs, the dances, the costumes, and the acting?
Simple answer, marvelous! I loved The Greatest Showman!
The songs are catchy and entertaining. My wife and I have been listening to the album pretty much non-stop since seeing the film.
The dances are great. The standard lineup is avoided as little bits of the scenery become props, instruments, or backup dancers making almost every dance unique.
It’s easy to say that the movie will please anyone who likes musicals or dance numbers. But what else does The Greatest Showman hold?
The movie presents various forms of bigotry and examines the responses of the main characters.
Barnum buys his way into upper class society, but must deal with the old money characters, including his father-in-law, always seeing him as an upstart.
Mrs. Barnum has to deal with her husband dismissing her and their children as he focuses on his career.
The circus people (bearded lady, dwarf, wolf-man, etc) have to deal with irrational hatred directed at them. Additionally it is unclear if Barnum is helping them or exploiting them.
The black characters have to deal with a dose of old-fashioned racism. Particular attention is paid to this theme as Barnum’s partner has an interracial relationship with one of the black performers, a relationship that would’ve been illegal at the time the movie was set.
There isn’t anything unique about the way this movie portrays racism and bigotry, but it makes the simple plot a little more thought-provoking.
I read a little about Barnum’s real life after seeing The Greatest Showman. The real P.T. Barnum’s life is radically different than what is presented in the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but it is clearly not a documentary.
I think The Greatest Showman was one of the best films of 2017. I’d recommend the movie to anyone who loves musicals or is interested in trying them out. You won’t be disappointed.