In Review: The Greatest Showman is a total delight, says our film critic

The Greatest Showman (2017).

Director: Michael Gracey. 105mins. (PG)


Born into poverty but working in the houses of the rich, young Phineas Taylor Barnum (Ellis Rubin) falls in love with upper class Charity (Skylar Dunn).

He leaves to work on the railroads, promising to return and make her happy and support her in the life she has been brought up in. As an adult (Hugh Jackman) he comes back and marries Charity (Michelle Williams) and fulfils at least part of his bargain – they are happy and have two children, but live in polite poverty.

After being sacked from a clerical job, Barnum hits upon the idea of starting a waxworks museum, similar to those in Europe. Needing something more original, he starts an indoor circus and ‘freak show’ of human oddities.

Despite scathing media attention and a negative, aggressive community response to their presence, he soldiers on, determined to become the greatest showman.

Review by Jason Day

Bah humbug to the critical Scrooges knocking this fantastical musical for being 'underwhelming' and middle of the road.

Although its message of body diversity and racial equality is thumped home with a naive and obvious approach befitting a TV movie of the week or Disney at their worse, the film as a whole is a splendidly choreographed 'sawdust and sequins' treatment of Barnum's larger than life career.

The songs, from the Oscar winning duo behind La La Land (2016), are blissful, clever and highly emotional pieces. I venture the opinion that they are a step up from that previous film, far more confident and punchy.

Despite never convincing during the earlier scenes as a man in his 20's Jackman (49) is full of energy and eye-twinkling charisma in the lead role, with some A-grade support turns.

Brave the post-Christmas chills and sales crowds and see this while the weather is still festive. It's a total delight.

For more, read the full review:

Chernin Entertainment/TSG Entertainment/20th Century Fox. (PG)
Producers: Peter Chernin, Laurence Mark, Jenno Topping.
Writers: Jenny Picks, Bill Condon.
Camera: Seamus McGarvey.
Music: John Debney, Joseph Trapanese.
Sets: Nathan Crowley.
Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eric Anderson.


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