Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Greatest Showman features joyful dancing and infectious songs

Movie Title:    The Greatest Showman

Grade:  A

Rating:  PG, 105 minutes

In a Nutshell: Critics seem to be ripping this musical movie to shreds, so it makes me wonder if I saw the same film they did!  I really loved it!  In fact, the audience I watched the movie with on opening day applauded and cheered at the end of the movie.  They loved it too!  So do the Golden Globes, having recently nominated it as Best Picture in the Musical/Comedy category.     

Directed by Michael Gracey, this movie has been a passionate pet project of Hugh Jackman for quite awhile.  I adore him.  He can do it all: sing, dance, act.  He is a true showman and was also nominated by the Golden Globes for Best Performance by an actor in the same Musical/Comedy category.  I hear he is also a genuinely nice guy.  Don’t tell my husband I’m in love with him. I thought he was absolutely incredible in Les Miserables (2012)


Tips for parents: 
  • A father slapped his son on the face so hard that you could hear an audible "OH!!" from parents in the audience.
  • No profanity.
  • There is an element in the movie that teaches there is no right or wrong and that everything is ok.  That may bother some parents who teach their children that there IS a difference between right and wrong in this world.
  • Lots of alcohol and drinking
  • Violent bullying

Uplifting theme: 

  • "The noblest art is that of making others happy." - P.T. Barnum
  • Everyone of us is special and no one is like us.  That’s the point of my show.” – P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman)
  • “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” – P. T. Barnum
  • “We can live in a world we design.”  - song lyric
  • “A man’s station is limited only to his imagination.” – Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson)
  • “Make no apologies.  I am who I’m meant to be.” – song lyric
  • Small-minded people vs. accepting others for who they are
  • “Dream with your eyes wide open.” – song lyric

Things I liked:
  • One critic said the 11 original songs are not even memorable.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  In fact, I'm completely obsessed with the soundtrack and have listened to it at least a dozen times already. The songs were fantastic and I can’t wait to watch the movie again.  This Is Me was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.  Keala Settle sings the triumphant anthem.  I’m so happy for her to make her film debut.  She plays the Beared Woman.  She is new to most of us, although she has been performing on Broadway for 30 years.  I think The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is going to be very popular.
  • The talented cast includes Zac Efron (He does a fantastic bar scene with Hugh Jackman), Michelle Williams (lovely solo), Rebecca Ferguson (she is truly stunning in this movie), and the popular pre-teen idol Zendaya.
  • The dance numbers were joyful, infectious, and energizing.  Dance tutorials are already popping up on YouTube. 
  • Some of the transitions were really clever.
  • While the movie is a period piece, the songs sound more like today’s pop radio hits.  Critics claim that the songs should match the time, but audiences will love the songs because the lyrics are inspiring and the music feels relevant to today.  The  award-winning lyricists from La La Land wrote for this movie.  Critics fell all over themselves for La La Land, but I liked THE GREATEST SHOWMAN more.  
  • It felt like a carefully crafted stage production, something that Barnum would have actually created. 
  • I thought Rebecca Ferguson was amazing in the movie and looked gorgeous.  Then I learned that her singing voice wasn't hers, but actually Loren Allred's.  The song was beautiful.  It was actually written with Anne Hathaway in mind, but she didn't end up in the movie.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The biggest complaint movie critics have is that the script is weak and clunky.  Again, I disagree.  I loved it all. 
  • I would have liked learning more about some of the characters, like the Bearded Lady. It would have been a 3 hour movie to include back stories on some of the circus performers though!
  • There are some basic historic facts that the movie got wrong, but it really didn't bother me.  In reality, P.T. Barnum was not a very nice guy and cared more about money than people.  He didn't have a romantic relationship with Jenny Lind.  She really did leave the tour early, but it was because she had been donating all of her earnings to charity and was getting tired of being on the road for so long.

Interesting lines:
  • “People are fascinated with the exotic and the macabre.  That’s why we stare at it.”  - P.T. Barnum
  • “You don’t need everyone to love you, Phin, just a few good people.” – Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams)
  • “Men suffer from believing too little than too much.” – P. T. Barnum
  • “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” – P.T. Barnum
  • “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.” - P.T. Barnum
  • “People come to my show for the pleasure of being hoodwinked.  Just once I’d like to give them something real.” – P.T. Barnum
  • “When you’re careless with other people, it will bring ruin on yourself.” – Jenny Lind
  • “I wanted to be more than I was.” – P. T. Barnum

Funny lines:
  • “Don’t turn sensible on us now.” – Beared Lady (Keala Settle)
  • "Real estate in Manhatten is a terrible investment." - P. T. Barnum   haha

If you're obsessed with this movie, check out some of these must-have items:


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