The Greatest Showman Review
Starring Australia’s very own Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman has become a worldwide hit since being released in December 2017. Directed by Michael Gracey and starring Zac Efron and Zendaya, this musical follows an ambitious showman and entrepreneur in the mid 19th century.
Inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum’s creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that follows P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Many reviews accused the movie of “white-washing” the story of P. T. Barnum, earning only $13.4 million over the first five days it was in theatres. The movies gross rose by 76% in its second weekend receiving mostly five star reviews. One year on the movie grossed $434 million worldwide making it the fifth highest grossing live-action musical of all time.
There are many themes throughout the movie with the most prominent being inclusiveness. Barnum (Jackman) learns to love and accepts a group of people who were different at a time when were labelled the ‘freaks, and hid in the shadows. The movie showcased this by including people of all ethnicities, shapes and sizes. The films primary love couple (Efron and Zendaya) are in a mixed-race relationship and struggle with societal expectations of a white man being with a black woman. The struggle that this couple faced are still seen in contemporary society with prejudice and seclusion overshadowing the love that occurs between two people. The film promotes diversity with their most popular song “This Is Me” (led by Keala Settle) encouraging individuals to be themselves regardless of what other people say.
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You can’t talk about The Greatest Showman without mentioning the music. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are the songwriting duo behind the catchy songs, blending pop with broadway. I thought the music that was used was such a monumental part of the movie being such a big hit. The soundtrack debuted at 71 on the Billboard 200 which was far from a smash hit. By its fourth week it was the No.1 album on the Billboard 200. Celebrities such as Selena Gomez and P!nk were seen on social media singing along to the songs.
This movie ticks all the boxes for me with the music, choreography, story and life lessons leaving me in awe. It is a family friendly movie which could be used in a variety of contexts to inform people on relationships, loyalty, accepting people for who they are, and the importance of family and friendships. It took Hugh Jackman seven years to convince his producer and managers that people wanted to see it, and it was well worth the wait.