Movie Review: The Greatest Showman

Miranda Sandoval, Staff Writer

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     Laaadies and gentlemen – this is the moment you’ve been waiting for! A compelling tribute to P.T. Barnum, the founder of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, has emerged on the big screen. From the Academy Award-Winning creators of the musical La La Land comes another masterpiece: The Greatest Showman, which “tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.” The Greatest Showman boasts a star-studded cast including Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. This production has received numerous awards, including “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” and “Best Actor – Musical or Comedy” at the 75th Golden Globe Awards.
     The movie’s soundtrack was No. 1 on the Billboard album chart for two consecutive weeks, and the song “This Is Me” won the award for “Best Original Song” at both the Golden Globe Awards and the 90th Academy Awards. The music was not an afterthought, but rather an essential part of the movie itself. The songs were composed of eloquent lyrics, powerful vocals, and captivating instrumentals that made apparent the unbridled passion and talent that went into the show. “A Million Dreams,” a touching song that resonates with the dreamer in all of us, was my personal favorite. It served as a reminder that despite adverse circumstances, personal shortcomings, and people that want to drag us down, we should continue to search for meaning and fulfilment.
The Greatest Showman offers a poignant perspective on social injustice during Barnum’s lifetime. Throughout the movie, various characters were mistreated, harassed, and oppressed by others. For example, the members of Barnum’s circus were labeled as “freaks” and shunned by the community (due to disabilities, physical abnormalities, and the color of their skin). Barnum’s business partner and a black trapeze artist fell in love and faced the opposition of people who disapproved of their interracial relationship. Barnum himself struggled to escape poverty, become successful, and prove his worth.
Many critics complain that The Greatest Showman was ‘faux-inspiring’ and ‘shallow’, underlining the inaccuracy of its portrayal of Barnum’s character, which was questionable. However, The Greatest Showman was not intended to be a biographical account – it was meant to be a form of entertainment, a movie inspired by Barnum’s unconventionality, creativity, and love of fun and laughter.
The skilled actors and actresses, heartfelt songs, and flamboyant costumes made this rags-to-riches tale come alive, giving it the pizzazz it needed to enchant the audience, while at the same time, delivering a deeper message. I highly recommend The Greatest Showman to circus lovers and those that enjoy the razzle-dazzle of show business.

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