Movies: The Greatest Showman

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Willams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson
Directed By: Michael Gracey
Written By: Jenny Bicks & Bill Condon
20th Century Fox, 2017
PG; 105 minutes
5 stars (out of 5)


This is a good movie.

Look, I suspect—and I don't know for sure because I don't know anything about P.T. Barnum—it whitewashes a lot of Barnum's actual character. But it's still a good story, which makes a good movie.

And the songs are fabulous.

For those who don't know, a summary: this is the story of P.T. Barnum's rise from nothing to becoming a famous showman. It features his struggle for acceptance and legitimacy within the higher circles of society. It doesn't portray him as perfect, far from it, but there's the chance that it also doesn't dip all that deeply into anything too dark or muddy. And that's fine. This isn't a gritty movie; it's a musical. Following Barnum's philosophy, it's meant to bring people joy.

On a broader level, The Greatest Showman asks us why we seek approval and when is something enough to satisfy us. Similar to Hamilton (though I wouldn't necessarily equate the two), it explores a man's ambition and his impact on those around him.

In addition, the production is gorgeous.

I just really, really enjoyed this movie. My kids did, too. It's not everyone's cup of tea, I'm sure, but if you're so inclined to these kinds of things, I certainly recommend it.

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