The Greatest Showman (2017)
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What I saw was pure genius...so well done...and in my top 10 movies I have ever seen. The performances and talents displayed were excellent and the music and dancing seemed to never let up...but it did at the right times so the story could be told.
Hugh Jackman and Zack Efron were amazing...the showmanship fantastic...the movie grabbed me immediately and never let go. I can already tell that this is one of the very few movies that I could watch repeatedly for the journey it takes me on, and for movie musicals...that this movie deserves to be considered an instant classic.
"The Greatest Showman" is an uplifting, joyous experience that we all need, now more than ever. The musical numbers are glorious and the plot, while not historically accurate (if you want a history lesson, rent "Dunkirk",) is heartfelt and engrossing. It is a film that families can enjoy together, devoid of the sappiness and goofy grownups that infest most family fare. And, the greatest present of all: you feel wonderful at the end!
Within the film, an entertainment critic who describes Mr. Barnum's offerings as "a circus of humbug" asks whether it bothers him that all he offers is fake. Barnum, referring to his customers, replies, "Do their smiles look fake?" No, they don't - nor do the ones in the theater. And those smiles are reaffirmed through the round of applause that many audiences bestow upon the film at its conclusion.
Gather the family, enjoy the music and leave the theater feeling better than when you came in. Happy Holidays.
We watched it as a family; two 40-somethings, a 4 year old, and a 3 year. We ALL loved it!!! The kids were singing along and dancing. My husband, who hates musicals, LOVED it! We watched it six times in three days!!!
This is the epitome of a feel-good movie!!!
Don't waste another day not having seen this gem!!!!
On a couple of occasions, I've even caught my boyfriend humming the tunes. To say the songs stick with you, is an understatement.
In fact, we've listened and watched it so much, that on every 20th Century Fox Movie "opening" sequence on any and all other subsequent 20th Century Fox movies we've watched, I automatically think of this one, and I am half expecting to see and hear the "Ah, ah, ahhh, ahh ..." and Hugh Jackman with his low "Ladies and Gents . . . ". Besides having a catchy and moving soundtrack, the film itself is a wonder to look at. The cinematography is beautiful, the costumes are well-done, and again, come on: HUGH JACKMAN singing and dancing. What could be better?
Well, for one, not better, but almost as great, is Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind. The lady is gorgeous, and while she actually doesn't sing her rendition of "Never Enough" (Loren Allred does), the passion and zeal she brings to her onstage performance, is one for the books. I could literally (and have) replay that one scene over and over. Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman also have a duet which is fun and witty and very creatively done.
The only reason I did not give it a "10", is probably an unpopular view, and I know I will amass a hugh (not a typo :)) number of thumbs down, but oh well: I did not care for Zendaya AT ALL. I think she was so very miscast. I do not think she looked pretty in the film (although after filming, I saw her giving a couple of interviews and she looked beautiful); I thought she had absolutely zero chemistry with Zac Efron; and lastly, both her acting and her voice are like chalk grating on a blackboard to me. I think Logan Browning would have been cuter in the role. That's just me though, although it did affect my thoughts on the film and my score.
All in all, WATCH IT if you have not yet done so. It is beautiful to look at and a (modern) masterpiece to the ears.
Off the bat this movie has a stunning cast and soundtrack. The acting is great and the singing is better. There wasn't a single song in the entire movie that I didn't find myself truly enjoying listening to and I am really excited to listen to the soundtrack again and again in the future. These songs should all be classics! The casting was perfect (even Zac Efron fit his role perfectly).
This was a fun, emotional, and exciting rollercoaster of a movie and I left the theater wanting much much more of this movie. 10/10 would recommend to anyone. My wife and I couldn't be more excited about this movie. Also, it reminded us both of the animated film Sing: lot's of interesting parallels.
Movie has great tunes by Pasek & Paul. My favorite is "Never Enough".
It's a movie you can take the whole family and have good laugh, cry, stand up & clap.
I am absolutely going to see this again. I think this movie would have done much better in the box office if it were released before Star Wars, or a few weeks after. It's a shame that it's likely going to be lost in a shadow due to the timing of it's release date.
The film is a 98 percent fictionalized story of the rise of P.T. Barnum. Barnum was a fascinating and somewhat controversial character. He was part of the government of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and made many improvements there. The film touches on few of his accomplishments, concentrating on his circus.
I've heard the music described as having "High School Musical" type tunes. Were they awful? No. Pleasant and well-sung? Definitely. The film is a huge spectacle and intended to be seen on the big screen. The choreography is wonderful, too.
My only gripe in this otherwise enjoyable film is that Jenny Lind sang pop songs. I realize that was done because it would have been too jarring with the other music in the film, but at the very least, she should have sung something in a soprano voice, even if it was Carry Me Back to Old Virginny.
I've seen Hugh Jackman on stage three times - he's always sensational. Zac Efron sang and danced well and exhibits a new maturity.
Anyone interested should read about the fascinating and varied accomplishments of P.T. Barnum. This is no biopic. But it is fun.
The strength of these musical sequences is enough to save the film from being bad, and is even almost enough to outweigh the many, many flaws... but not quite. Firstly, the film is attractive to look at to be sure, but it is at times so incredibly glossy that it feels like you're watching a shampoo or jewelry commercial. Sure, it's going for that fairy tale feel, but at times the sheen and shimmer is a little too blinding. And that high-gloss polish is a symptom of a much deeper problem: the incredibly superficial quality of the story and its characters. It's disappointing because this story is genuinely interesting and has the potential for a lot of moral exploration that is completely passed over. Again, I get that this is a musical and a family film, but that doesn't mean it has to be vapid and stupid (see: La La Land). I found it extremely troubling that the film completely ignored the moral quandary of whether Barnum was helping these "unique" people, or exploiting them for his own fame and fortune. These characters never even question his intent, viewing the situation as Barnum helping to "put them out there", gain them social acceptance, and create a "family", where in reality they're quite clearly being taken advantage of in a way that is arguably more reprehensible morally than the protesters who mock them. It's a truly glaring omission from the film that saps so much potential substance from the story.
Contributing to the superficial feeling of the film is another all-to common problem that modern American family films suffer from: the pacing is way too fast. It's like the studios are afraid people will be bored by their films, and thus they design them to speed through plot points and character development in a way that ends up suffocating the life from it. Sure this approach makes the film feel lively and exciting, but it also robs it of actual, meaningful character interactions and development. The result is a film that feels like all dessert and no main course - a bowl of chocolate ice cream sure tastes great but it's no substitute for a satiating meal.
Another nitpick that bothered me enough that I have to mention it: why is a renowned 19th Century opera singer belting out a Celine Dion-esque pop tune for an adoring "high brow" audience in a classic theater? That scene was almost laughable in its absurdity. And although it was by far the worst offender, I would say in general the music in the film, while catchy, did clash somewhat with the period.
Honestly, I really should be giving this film a lower score. Somehow I enjoyed it quite a bit even in the face of the many fundamental issues, which is a testament to the strength of the best sequences. Still this is a deeply flawed film that, for all its visual splendor and admittedly intoxicating energy, amounts to little more than a sugar rush.
The Greatest Showman is a movie in moments, many of them great many more of them flaccid and empty. We're whisked through P.T.'s (Jackman) impoverished childhood in a single bound before settling on his happy marriage with wife Charity (Williams), and his two daughters (Johnson and Seely) who have grown to see their father as a hero. Tired of working to scrounge up a meager living, Barnum embarks on a risky entertainment venture and in due time, recruits his circus of curiosities and freaks.
From that point on, the film's narrative relies heavily on its skin-deep celebration of acceptance and diversity. This is while it chugs along through Barnum's life from his start as a full-time huckster, to his falling out with Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind (Ferguson). And while it would have been nice to say that the movie does a good job of linking theme with plot, I'm sorry to say none of it becomes a cohesive whole.
This is not entirely the fault of the filmmakers. I mean turning P.T. Barnum's life into a celebration of kindness and humanity is like using William 'Boss' Tweed as a symbol for New York pride. This film being a musical, I was not expecting something exacting, but I was expecting at the very least a keen acknowledgement that the legacy of P.T. Barnum isn't all razzle-dazzle. Yet this film makes him out to look like a saint; a man of untold potential who uses "truthful hyperbole" to provide for his loving family - A man of conviction, of love and of just wanting to put a smile on your face.
Framed in virtually any other way, Barnum would be the villain - enticing his young protégé Phillip (Efron) to "live a little," and abandon his family to come join the circus. Belittling a theater critic with insults masquerading as flaccid, fortune cookie, self-help wisdom and enticing circus "freaks" to stand out and express themselves while closing the door on them the moment he's among the rich and famous. The film's show-stopping tune "This is Me" takes place at this moment but because the film is too scared to make its hero anything more complicated than a fancily folded cocktail napkin, the moment feels like the side characters are just letting off steam.
What ultimately saves this movie from being a complete waste of a Saturday night is the choreography. Every poppy show tune and love ballad brings with it entire body shots of twirling, leaping perfection, conjuring memories of the physical feats of the cast of West Side Story (1961). Not satisfied with the traditional, the film continues to build its momentum with incredibly fancy footwork and some truly death defying trapeze choreography on the part of Zendaya and Zac Efron.
There's imagination in the frame and a lot of it, but largely due to the film's complete inability to marry subject with tone, The Greatest Showman is far from great. Rather than being a worthy successor to Moulin Rouge! (2001) this picture winds up feeling like Newsies (1992) without a Crutchy. And let's face it; the only thing we really remember about that movie was there was a character named Crutchy.