From the people who brought you La La Land. It’s time for another musical to lift up your spirits and make you want to sing and dance. A complete 180 from the jazzy, slow, ballad filled academy award winning movie, this time around it’s a more fun, campy, catchy, and pop tone to the soundtrack telling the story of the man who brings us joy through the circus P.T. Barnum. In other words, the song “Another day of Sun” times 8.
Hugh Jackman plays the infamous Burnham. A man who since his childhood has always been the one looking in as he watches the glitz and glam of the world from the wealth. Looking for his opportunity to shine and get his peace of the pie his imagination guides him to entertain but to also earn a fortune and create a life for him and the love of his life Charity (Michelle Williams) by using oddities around the world to showcase for people’s enjoyment. Along the way his journey is not an easy one as he loses site of what his dreams truly is and the townspeople who are against having him in town with his band of “freaks” causes problems for him.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. Anyone who has a soft spot for musicals will enjoy how much energy is put into each musical number. Many of you probably heard some if not all the songs from this film already as the soundtrack was released before the movie release. From what I heard from friends, no one wanted to hear anything before watching the movie because they can already tell these songs are going to be so good. Their assumptions were correct. It is best to hear these tunes while watching the movie for the first time. Combined with amazing choreography and talented singers including Broadway star Keala Settle (Broadway’s Waitress) who plays the bearded lady. Believe it or not, Zac Efron has definitely matured from his High School Musical days, still bringing the suaveness of a gentlemen and a decent voice to carry his character throughout the film.
When you watch this film, you will see that the director took advantage of their entire environment. Every corner of the screen is used by someone dancing, singing, whether it’s the ensemble cast or an extra cheering and singing along enjoying the show. This may be a disadvantage while watching it on the big screen. A downfall of this is that there is too much business on the screen for you to catch everything or it could just look to stuffed to fit all the wonder under the circus tent. Think of the fast pace of Moulin Rouge. The fast movements, the quick cut scenes in the editing, the loud and vibrant in your face theatrics of its players, also the use of modern musicality of the songs. You will see a hint of dance moves and a little music in the background mixed with old school musical tropes. I caught a hint of Michael Jackson I think and there is definitely a N*sync move in one of the dance routines.
I tell you each song in this movie isn’t bad at all. While some songs are definitely better than others, I didn’t dislike one song or singer in the film. If i can provide any proof of that it would be that I am listening to the soundtrack as I am writing this review. When I watch musicals, I always enjoy the songs that involved most of the cast or has a high number of singers. There was more of that in this film as well as the message behind the lyrics regarding being different and just loving yourself despite those who want to hold you back and tear you down. I highly recommend this movie and with how much fun it was, this has lots of rewatchable quality. If anything, just to experience the songs and routines again.
If you like musicals, this one will not disappoint. It may seem a little disjointed by some hardcore Broadway and musical fans but at the end of the day you will end up applauding to at least one song by the end of the movie. My bet it will be “The Greatest Show”, “Never Enough” or “This Is me” I don’t know much about P.T. Barnum’s life or story. Whether this movie depicts a true example of his life and rise to stardom could also change your opinion of the movie but you got to admit it was a fun ride either way. This is a great movie to watch around the holidays.
5 out of 5
Did you enjoy the movie as much as I did? Did you enjoy the songs more than the story or vice versa? Comment your thoughts and thank you for reading my review. I’ll see you at the movies.