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Review: “The Greatest Showman”

Randa Lee, Writer

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First-time director Michael Grace  broke into the movie business with a big splash. His risky proposition of “The Greatest Showman” originally generated very little buzz throughout  audiences. The family-friendly musical about P.T. Barnum starring Hugh Jackman has now been in theaters for six weeks and has brought in about $127 million. Gracey, through the magic of directing, showed the audience that staying true to yourself and working to your fullest potential can take you anywhere you want to go in life.

When I first saw the trailer for “The Greatest Showman” I set some pretty high expectations, and I would assume many others did the same. After seeing the film I decided that it went above and beyond any and all of my expectations. The movie tells the story of P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The movie opens with Barnum, played by Jackman, as a young, lower-class child who just wants to be with his childhood love, Charity, played by Michelle Williams. A few years pass and Barnum and Charity are married with two children. The family, having gone through hardship after hardship, finally has had enough and buys a museum of curiosity which will later spark the first home of the circus.  

Barnum takes in every oddity he can track down in New York and showcases their unique abilities and characteristics in his circus. Through this, Burnum brings together people of different shapes, sizes, and colors in “an act of humanity.”

The film contains many big actors and actress such as Jackman, Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. My ten-year-old self sat shaking with excitement as I patiently watched the movie waiting for what many have been calling a “High School Musical 2.0 moment,” where Efron and Zendaya both sing and swing across the circus rafters creating what could be a scene straight out of “High School Musical.” The love between the two star-crossed lovers is both believable and enchanting. Although Efron has grown out of his boyishness, he still has the charm to light up the room and even though Zendaya isn’t exactly Gabriella, this might be the closest we get to another love song duet from Efron.

Some viewers may not agree with the overall love for “The Greatest Showman” due to the historical inaccuracies. According to The Los Angeles Times, Barnum “shamelessly exploited his performers’ differences, inflaming the public’s racism as well as its hunger for spectacle and grotesquerie.”

Despite this, it was a beautifully written and directed movie with a perfectly casted group of actors and actresses. A movie for all ages even if you aren’t a music lover, “The Greatest Showman” is a film you won’t want to miss.

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