"an aesthetic film, with its flaws, that successfully entertains and dazzles the audience"
Bringing to life on screen the true story of T. P. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is a musical that has spectacular choreography and a breathtaking cinematography, but lacks in poignant dialogue and plot.
Written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon, The Greatest Showman shines a light on the man that invented what we know as Show Business.
Born as the son of a tailor, T.P. Barnum always wanted to be somebody and create a better life for himself. Obsessed with the need to provide a better life for his wife, who left wealth and commodities for love, Barnum is looking to make a name for himself in an economy that is slowly crushing. His love of wonder and illusion makes it easy for him to spot the perfect show to entertain people from every social background.
After lukewarm success with his museum of wonders, Barnum finally discovers what will attract people, a circus of freaks and artists different from anyone else. However, the showman’s desperate need to be accepted by high society feeds his ego and pushes him too far in his quest to be accepted and recognised by his peers.
Directed by Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman is a spectacular movie that is made to amaze the audience with fantastic cinematography and costumes. The attention to every detail is done to perfection. The transitions between one scene and the next are swift and harmonic and gift the movie with a fluidity that reminds of an intricate dance.
The cast ensemble is brilliant and passionate in their performances; Hugh Jackman showcases one more time his talent and love for musicals. His moves and his voice are impeccable and along with the rest of the cast, especially Zac Efron, they create that magical and warm feeling that only a musical can give. The choreography made to accompany the musical parts of the film are swift and elaborate and most of the time they are employed as the numbers of P. T. Barnum’s show.
However, the plot of the film is not quite as imaged, the grounds to create amazing choreographies and utilise the circus show and talents is rich and filled with possibilities. Unfortunately, as the plot only focuses on Barnum’s obsession for being accepted by high society, the quirky, weird and extraordinary characters found by the showman are only employed as a side to the main protagonist. There is no space left to show what Barnum’s circus is all about and why everyone is so entertained, instead of being used to delight the audience and show what Barnum’s show is all about.
For this reason, the plot losses depth and all the characters become just the background of a story about a man who wanted to become successful at all cost. Even though at the end the resolution lifts up the story, there is so much potential that isn’t acknowledged or used to make the story even more spectacular.
On another positive note, the soundtrack is upbeat and highly entertaining and it brings a strong tempo to the film, giving it a modern spin that casts a spell on the audience and makes them connect with the story.
The Greatest Showman is an aesthetic film, with its flaws, that successfully entertains and dazzles the audience with an extraordinary cinematography and a soundtrack that celebrates diversity and inclusion. The perfect film to watch to keep that Christmas feeling warm.