Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Greatest Showman


PT Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is the son of a tailor and grows up poor. His lofty ambitions in life are fueled by his humble beginnings as well as that constant feeling of always having to prove himself and never being welcomed. He has found his one true love in Charity (Michelle Williams), the daughter of a wealthy man and way out of his league. Despite being worlds apart in terms of social status, they end up together and raise two daughters. However, dreams never really die. With the help of improvisation and a limitless imagination, what starts off as a museum of curiosities becomes a full-fledged circus after he convinces socialite playwright Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) to switch careers and invest on his show. Flanked by criticisms as well as accusations of exploitation and selling novelty for profit, Barnum will not stop until he conquers New York society, but to what extent?

The musical that launched a thousand ear worms. I wasn’t really planning on seeing this when it came out. You know how when something is all over the place and you are eventually led to believe that it’s all hype and no substance? I managed to convince myself after hearing some snippets of the songs everyone was singing and observing the impressively long box office legs this movie had which is unusual for the genre. Suffice it to say that I sure was entertained more than I thought I’d be.

Entertainment, this is what The Greatest Showman is all about. When people pay for the sake of being amused, you have to give them what they want. It does feel like a bit of a scam as well as paying for cheap thrills, some of which are fake, but it can be argued that it is that experience of being faked yet enjoying it is what matters. After all, that’s what showbiz is all about, right? You are selling illusions for entertainment value, and whoever wows you more ends up getting your money.

As for acting, Jackman and Williams do what they can to entertain you, joined by the likes of musical cinema veteran Efron and newcomer Zendaya who simply sizzles onscreen. It’s an ensemble effort, really. Most characters have something to contribute, may it be vocals, extraordinary talent, or just a compelling backstory. It’s a cast composed of underdogs, and of course we love it when the dark horses succeed despite what society dictates. This is one musical extravaganza for everyone who has felt like an outsider once in their lives.

One of the most common complaints about the storyline is how inaccurate it is, romanticizing the life of a guy who doesn’t deserve it. Lest we forget, though, this is fiction and in no part of the film do they claim that this is a documentary. People will obviously come to see it for entertainment value, not historical accuracy. It’s quite amusing, actually. You have a fake storyline for a movie about a fake show ostracized for being fake. Wow, that’s a lot of layers there, but we forgot production values.

That’s where The Greatest Showman really succeeds, in giving you an entertaining show. From the costumes to the set design; the choreography and the stunts; and of course let’s not forget the songs. Those songs are so catchy and easy to like, with lyrics that can be both cheesy yet socially relevant for that time period. Plot development unfurls like your typical success story that eventually goes sour, but with all the distractions you enjoy onscreen you’ll end up not caring any less.

0 creature(s) gave a damn:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Protected by Copyscape DMCA Copyright Detector

Film Review

Book Review

Book Review

Theater Review