Review: The Greatest Showman

Courtesy of Fox Movies

By Daniela Sol 

Opening in theaters this past December 2017, The Greatest Showman continues to transcend audiences this newly started year. Nominated for three Golden Globes and taking one home, this movie shows promise in the world of Hollywood. The musical tells the story of how the circus came to be. It is a storyline filled with love, friendship, and family, all told by a series of songs that will fill your body with the need to dance in the middle of the theater.

The music was written by the duo Pasek and Paul, the same songwriters that wrote La La Land’s beautiful music. The Greatest Showman has a different beat than what Pasek and Paul intended for La La Land. When I first heard that the music had been done by the same songwriters, I was hesitant to go see the movie since my expectations were automatically set very high. However, The Greatest Showman delivered with flying colors.

The storyline moves quickly with major plot-twisting events happening every 15 minutes or so, making the audience stay on their toes. The cast was excellently picked, with Hugh Jackman as the showman, Zac Efron as the showman’s business partner, Michelle Williams as the showman’s wife, and Zendaya as a circus acrobat. The movie follows the life of P.T Barnum, founder of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, a passionate man with a fascination for the unusual. It’s a fast-paced movie as Barnum falls in love, chases his dreams, and learns valuable lessons.

The movie is composed with upbeat music and powerful and moving rhythms to match the message evoked by all the circus characters, the true heroes of the story. The bearded lady, the dwarf, the acrobats, and the fattest man in the world all symbolize a key theme of the film: different is beautiful. When hired by P.T. Barnum to join the circus, all these “outsiders” find a home and a family among each other and break all racist and discriminatory behavior done by their hometown. Together they embrace their differences and enjoy who they are with no shame.

If there’s one word I could use to describe this movie, it is “passionate”. The actors evoke this passion through their dancing and singing, plus the director’s choice for various close-ups heightens the feel of intensity. Throughout the movie, scenes are filled with various short close-ups to the eyes when lovers meet or to the feet for a specific dance move, as well as moments of silence, where the surroundings are muffled to increase the intensity of one exact moment. It’s not just the actor’s skilled dance moves and good directorial choices that evoke passion, but also in the acting. Every character is represented in such a unique inspiring way.

The Greatest Showman is in theaters now, and it is a treat to sit back and enjoy such a heartwarming musical.


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