Movie Review: “The Greatest Showman” Is An Endearing Story Of Love, Loss, Showmanship & Acceptance

“The story behind the tent, that everyone knows and loves, is just as remarkable and interesting as every act that has made the world-famous attraction something worth talking about long after the final act has run its course.”


 

Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

I almost forgot just how good an actor Hugh Jackman is. With a cast of glorified misfits surrounding him the entire film, it was amazing to see the P.T. Barnum story come to life after the world famous circus just recently closed its doors after a 146-year run. While those who are circus lovers may enjoy all the cast and characters with their amazing and unique talents, there is a lesson here for all ages that starts and ends with humility.

In the early years, Mr. Phinneas T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), who is a family man, lives for the smiles of his two young daughters Caroline (Austyn Johnson) and Helen (Cameron Seely), and his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) who accept him in spite of his flaws and his uncanny ability to want more from the world than most expected. While he is faithful to his job, he has great ideas that never seem to take flight and he often wishes he would be taken seriously enough to be provided the resources to fund his dreams. In an odd twist of fate, his company closes down unexpectedly and he decides, once and for all, to pursue his dreams of running a successful business. When he is offered the deal to purchase Barnum’s American Museum, he puts everything he has into it yet it doesn’t become successful until he takes his young daughter’s advice of using live acts instead of dead ones. Although he faces tumultuous growing pains, his ideas turn into reality, and with the help of Mr. Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), who has a strong link to the upper class in the community, he is able to finally pull off a world-renowned, money-making venture.

Along with Mr. Barnum’s success, there is still a lot of public scrutiny from those who believe his style of managing misfits is detrimental to the public and a nuisance to the neighborhood. In addition, the press which is supposed to be objective, seems to be one of the greatest pieces of the disgruntled puzzle. After learning to court his enemies and at a time when he feels that he has finally reached the pinnacle of success with acceptance and a new international act, the woman behind it, Ms. Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), wants more than he is able to offer, and when he rejects her personal need to be accommodated, his professional wall of success comes tumbling down. Before Mr. Barnum cand recover from the loss and embarrassment associated with the relationship with Ms. Lind, his entire building goes up in flames and after turning his back on his family and the ensemble that made him famous, he is left with nothing but righteous indignation. The true purpose of his existence begins when Mr. Barnum, who has suffered through every imaginable loss, restructures his priorities and comes back with even greater intensity than he originally started out with. With his attitude finally in check, and with his legion of misfits, he rebuilds the world famous Barnum & Bailey Circus that has made an indelible mark in the lives of adults and children everywhere.

With a multi-talented supporting cast including Zendaya and other talented actors, this film is full of surprises that keep it flowing smoothly throughout the plot. The story behind the tent, that everyone knows and loves, is just as remarkable and interesting as every act that has made the world-famous attraction something worth talking about long after the final act has run its course.

Opens in theaters today


 

Tracee Bond

Tracee is a movie critic and interviewer who was born in Long Beach and raised in San Diego, California. As a Human Resource Professional and former Radio Personality, Tracee has parlayed her interviewing skills, interest in media, and crossover appeal into a love for the Arts and a passion for understanding the human condition through oral and written expression. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and considers it a privilege to be complimented for the only skill she has been truly able to master without formal training!
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