Hugh Jackman uses his full array of virtuoso talents as an actor, singer and dancer in the inspired true story of legendary showman B.T. Barnum, “The Greatest Showman”. A blended film of music, dance, theater, Cirque du Soleil and melodrama revolving mostly around the story of BT Barnum, his wife and children, his collection of perceived societal misfits and his passion to being a financial success.
REVIEW: I could go into the backdrop of what inspired Barnum to his success but that would take away a significant portion of the films first 30 minutes in its 1:40 minute running time. What is worth mentioning is that while Rotten Tomato has the film at about 50% I believe it is better than that score. And while the film is not great it certainly is a dazzling piece of work with its beautiful set design and costumes and dance choreography.
But the best thing about “TGS” is the music which simply is phenomenal throughout the entire film. Inspiring and moving, the songs here are by the same people who wrote the music to 2016 Oscar Nominated Film “La La Land”, only I think their work here is far more memorable. I have little doubt that “TGS” will certainly garner an Oscar Nomination in the Musical Score category and will probably be the front runner to win as well.
“TGS” is not meant to be a serious film as it clearly glosses’ and skips over some of the more controversial aspects to Barnum’s success. Instead it tends to feel more like a cheer leading homage solely to Barnum’s benevolent qualities and nothing else. But in the overall arc of the films plot there is a strong meaningful social aspect to the films story in the way Barnum recruited his odd assortment of entertainers to be in his “circus”.
Coming in all sizes, shapes, races, looks and ethnicity, “TGS” makes a very tender point of the importance of acceptance of people. And while Barnum’s motifs may have been to make a lot of money he openly embraced to his own peril a lot of people who were shunned by society for their odd looks. His circus idea helped bring them out of the shadows and into the light of humanity. And by doing so he helped give a lot of good people the feeling of self-worth and self-respect as equals in the arena of humanity.
“TGS” is a satisfying and luminous film in a tight entertaining package.