Movie Review: The Greatest Showman
by Gabriella Patino
The Greatest Showman was a heartwarming movie about the creation of the circus. It celebrates the birth of show business and tells the story of a man who came from nothing to do it. The movie takes place in the 1800’s, opening with an elaborate musical number to the movie’s first and eponymous song: The Greatest Showman. From just this scene, my attention was grasped—the song was unlike anything I’d heard before, and the costumes were absolutely dazzling.
Then, the movie cuts to a young P.T. Barnum, who helps his father, a tailor. The first glimpse the audience gets of his love interest happens here. She is the daughter of one of his father’s customers, a wealthy man. The girl's father disapproves of Barnum’s poor social standing, which later acts as a motivation him to succeed and prove that he can provide for his family. The song A Million Dreams is sung in this scene, as the young boy grows up. Ellis Ruben, the actor who plays the young P.T. Barnum, has a beautiful voice that added to the sense hopefulness prevalent in this first part of the movie. The star-crossed lovers end up being reunited later in life after writing letters to each other all throughout their childhood. While completely unrealistic, this was a sweet pair I found myself rooting for during the movie. The song empowers audience members to always strive to achieve their dreams, however far away they seem. The grown-up P.T. Barnum is creative and the audience gets a preview of this when he makes his daughters a “wish machine” in less than two minutes, right in front of their eyes.
The two little girls in the movie, Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely, have beautiful voices of their own in the movie. Both of their acting skills left me wondering how children their age could be so professional. They advance the plot and are absolutely adorable while doing it.
Pasek and Paul are the songwriters behind the catchy songs everyone raves about. They are famous for their work in La La Land, Trolls, and A Christmas Story (the musical). My personal favorite was The Other Side, in which Zac Efron, who plays Philip Carlyle, and Hugh Jackman, who plays P.T. Barnum, showcase their singing skills. The song takes place in an empty bar while Barunum is trying to convince Carlyle to be his partner. The dancing in this song is exceptional, and they use the bar to their advantage to draw in the attention of the audience.
Overall, The Greatest Showman is a heartwarming film that has something for everyone. I laughed, I cried, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.