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Welcome to the circus


The greatest showing of  a con

The circus is a place for misfits to fit, unhappy to be happy, imaginative to overtake, and phony to be real. Such a circus arrives in the musical The Greatest Showman, directed by Michael Gracey, illustrating the life of P.T. Barnum, the true American showman.

P.T. Barnum— showman, businessman, politician, founder of The Barnum and Bailey Circus– is the original con man behind famous words: “There’s a sucker born in every minute.” His creativity breathtakingly exceeds the fathomable.

STANDING PROUD: Barnum stands with his fellow circus members in triumph. They prove to the world they are extraordinary even with their unique quirks.

Barnum is an ambitious, imaginative risk taker determined to help outcasts find a place to feel loved. The movie dodges con man characteristics when Barnum proves to a critic the happiness of a circus is real, even if the show is not traditional. Barnum is depicted as insightful- not an untrustworthy phony- yet, his conniving ways shine through at times.

The opening scene starts with lights on Barnum as he leads you into his circus. The thuds of his cane beating to the beat of the song begin along with chills that won’t go away until the final scene.

Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum bringing a known face in Broadway talent to the movie. His powerful voice adds an inspiring tone to all songs making you want to listen to the whole soundtrack on repeat.

Barnum’s business partner and young ringmaster, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), is an elite nonconformist director avoiding societies normality. Barnum convinces Carlyle in the song (“The Other Side”) to take a risk joining his circus.The song and scene have perfect choreography with beats matching sounds in the bar setting, portraying an upbeat business deal and kindled friendship between the two men. The song is a turning point for Barnum, as well: he begins to crave upper society’s attention.

Carlyle’s love interest, Anne Wheeler, a young, colored, trapeze artist played by Zendaya Coleman, unites two former Disney stars. Their age difference was a little off-setting, but the chemistry, undeniable. In their duet “Rewrite the Stars” the two performed a trapeze dance with a litany of stunts backed the touching song about writing their own destiny for a forbidden love. A breathtaking moment in scenes was a recurring component launching the movie to greatness.

 However, strategically placed songs assisted the movie perfectly without resembling an overwhelming music video. Mixing the right amount of pop music to classic musical tones added the perfect musical element. Creativity and talent travels beyond classic acting, singing, and dancing put into a traditional movie musical giving the true essence of a performance.

The themes: living one’s dreams and being one’s self no matter the circumstances and ,most importantly, letting one’s creativity run wild are captured in Gracey’s choice of anthem for the movie: “This is me” sung by Keala Settle, a bearded woman in the circus. It is the message of the circus.

The film displayed something rare for the screen: a whole circus performance. The Greatest Showman is truly impactful, delivering the inescapable joy of the American circus with its classic phoniness and real happiness.

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