By: Paris Wong
Inspired bythefantastical world within P.T. Barnum’s imagination, ‘The Greatest Showman’ tells a story of a man who rises above all else to reach forthestars, creating something truly original and amazing in the process: show business. Directed by newcomer Michael Gracey, the film is a joyous celebration of life from start to finish, only made all the more captivating with a powerful and beautiful soundtrack penned by Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (‘La La Land’).
Starring yet another Academy Award winner, Hugh Jackman, ‘The Greatest Showman’ is filled to the brim with star power — as this cast is not one you’ll want to miss in action. From Disney alumni Zendaya and Zac Efron to Broadway great Keala Settle, their chemistry is flawless and astounding (as with any large ensemble), striking all the right chords all throughout. There’s friendship, found family, romance, and ambition, all balanced just right and tied up with a neat little bow.
Already nominated for not one, not two, but three Golden Globes, believe me when I say: you will not be disappointed.
Every song is played to perfection; every performance is top notch; and every shot and scene have so much heart that this film has already struck gold in my eyes, whether they win those Golden Globes or not. ‘Spectacle’ is right — it never drags, always keeping you on your toes, always leaving you wanting more. The audience was laughing, gasping, and yelling, reactions all the best movies should produce. Don’t get too cocky — just when you think you know what to expect next, the movie will turn your predictions on their heads.
It has the potential to become a classic, as fun and moving as it is; it doesn’t take itself overly seriously, but it doesn’t shy away from jerking at your heart strings either, and when things get rough, there’s always a song and dance to lift you back up again.
More than that, however, the film proves that there’s truly no limit to the imagination, building you an awe-filled world you can lose yourself in. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t strive to make your dreams come true. There’s no reason not to live life and love it. This movie embodies those words completely, in such a way that I felt inspired and moved from the dramatic opening to the quiet, perfect full-circle ending. By that I mean, bring some tissues, you might need them!
A great deal of the inspiration I felt came from the main premise, which is the circus show Barnum — with all his entrepreneurial spirit — puts together in order to shine a spotlight on those who are different, those who look different, who can do the impossible and the incredible and so much more. With the state of our world, it’s often all too easy to be a cynic, but this film reinforces that diversity is beautiful. Our differences make us who we are, and they make us better. They bring us all together, even in the face of so much adversity and struggle. Representation does matter. The message behind this film is pure, unadulterated love and joy, and it does an unbelievable job of delivering it.
Gorgeous, heartfelt and touching, Michael Gracey has definitely arrived. If this is any indication of his future, we’re in for one of the best rides. This is a strong debut with an insanely talented backing, and he, along with the cast and crew, should be proud of themselves for what they’ve accomplished. They make it seem as graceful and effortless as Zendaya on a trapeze, or Keala Settle belting out thebest notes of the whole film. The hard work has clearly paid off in giving us a movie we won’t soon forget — with songs I personally hope to hear all through the next year.
An hour and a half has never felt so criminally short until the curtains closed on what may be one of the most impressive, ambitious and feel-good films for 2017 to end on — and what a note it is.