Today I’m going to be reviewing The Greatest Showman on my blog and I’m just excited to write about it as I was to see it! This was a highly anticipated film for me being a musical theatre kid. Musical films are a huge business and original ideas, plots, and scores have the opportunity to be a huge hit. The Greatest Showman is based on the life of P.T. Barnum, the real life showman who is known for his famous circus and showmanship. Now if you’re aware of the man you’ll know there is a lot of controversy surrounding his work and whether he was really good or bad, but I’m not going to go into that today. I’m reviewing The Greatest Showman as a film and for entertainment purposes. There’s already a musical about Barnum, known by the same name, which I am a fan of so I was hoping this film would deliver. Well, it certainly did. I’ve been waiting to write my review for nearly two weeks now because I was so blown away I just couldn’t imagine putting my feelings into cohesive words for you guys to read. Today I’m going to try my best to review what is now one of my favourite films, and probably a good contender for my favourite film watched in 2018!
The film starts with some dramatic beats, a black screen which teases The Greatest Showman performing, and Hugh Jackman, who plays Barnum, whispering “Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for” to the beat of the song. It’s safe to say I was extremely excited. The big screen managed to capture that feeling you get in your stomach when a live theatre show starts, your heart skips a beat and your eyes well with anticipation. And it only got better from there! The Greatest Showman soundtrack was really familiar, despite the fact I’d not listened to any of the music before watching the film, which I think is a sign of good writing and composing. The songs were a lovely mix of modern and innovative with a flare of classic, timely feels. It had everything from solo ballads, loud ensemble numbers, and dainty duets. It was really refreshing and so catchy, I really have been singing these songs for weeks now. The choreography was also a highlight of The Greatest Showman. The dancing was really modern and complex, throwing aside the cheesy moves for some serious dancing in the show ring. Of course we did get some really of those sweet, heart melting dance moments, too. There was an iconic bar scene where the use of glasses and drinking literally danced to the beat, circus acts that really brought it, and music box style scenes that were all choreographed impeccably.
In between all the dancing and powerful songs there was a beautiful plot that wove it all together. The film follows the life of Barnum, the son of a tailor who falls in love with a girl who’s classes above him. Full of ambition and passion, Barnum turns his dull life around with a financial gamble when he buys a museum. From then on the story becomes what we know: a circus full of the weird and wonderful. There aren’t going to be any spoilers here, but I will say that each and every character had their own battle to fight and obstacle to overcome whilst navigating the harsh realities of the 19th century. The story was so uplifting and it really captured the spirit of theatre. For me, it’s always been a place of unity where you can forget your problems and do what you love. The story was so satisfying and in many ways was never ending – not only will the film be there to watch again and again but theatre, circus, and show business has gone on and always will.
The final thing I feel compelled to talk about in my review of The Greatest Showman is the cast. I couldn’t pick one fault in the entire cast; from the protagonist and supporting parts to the people in the background, this film had flawless casting. Hugh Jackman was obviously the natural choice for Barnum after becoming films showman recently. He had such a fun flare to his performance and became the dad of the circus which I loved. Zendaya and Zac Efron were equally talented. Their singing was great and they really embodied their parts. My favourite performer has to be Keala Settle by far. I hadn’t heard of her before watching this film but she really embraced the role of the bearded lady and wow can that girl sing! Her voice is seriously incredible and I hope she continues to go far, whether in the world of film or stage. Each person chosen to portray a member of Barnum’s circus showed real talent and passion and they made the film. Even the children were ridiculously talented! It’s clear that natural talent and hard work made this film.
So overall you can probably tell that I adored The Greatest Showman. I’ve tried my hardest to put my feelings into words so I hope that all made some sense. The story was original and inspiring and the songs are going to be sang for years to come. I found myself wanting to clap at the end of musical numbers and I cried the whole way through the film. Seriously. From the first beat heard behind the black screen to the ending number, I wept like a baby. It’s not often you get a film that makes you feel that much, encapsulating the importance of theatre, the feeling of live art, and the talent and lives that it represents. I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat for days and I know I’ll burn out my copy of the DVD when it’s released! Get yourself down to Barnum & Bailey Circus to have your mind blown!