My inability to give a flashy title for this blog post is the reason why I’m not a movie critic folks, but I won’t let that stop me from reviewing The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya , Sam Humphrey and Rebecca Ferguson was a great time in the theater, with good music and moments that we may have seen coming, but couldn’t help but appreciate. Given that I was already fully invested since purchasing the soundtrack early this week, I was in it FULLY for the music, but mostly for seeing Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron on-screen in a musical. I must admit that I’m a High School Musical lover (much to my chagrin) and I just love Hugh Jackman because it’s hard not to – even after watching The Prestige for the very first time ever – yesterday. DO NOT JUDGE ME AND MY LATE MOVIE WATCHING WAYS! The Greatest Showman is a loosely based biopic on the life and ideas of P.T Barnum. I purchased tickets last night for a 9:40 in the morning showing. I’m fully vested in my old ways, and that includes movies before noon.
Given that anyone with a connection to the internet and the ability to look up historical facts, we all know that P.T Barnum wasn’t the best person on Earth, right? Right. He could be seen as many things, but the movie decided to focus on his sheer determination to become the best person in show-business, and I think that they conveyed that well enough. There are times where you absolutely cheer for him, and then times where you think he’s the most bull-headed, blinded by the taste of success, jerk on the face of the planet. The obsession with success is something that I know a lot of us may have dealt with, or been connected with because of friends or family members, and frankly, it was hard to watch. To see Barnum fully loved and believed in by his family – both blood and circus – and squander that all for more was just disheartening.
There was a behind the scenes video released this month with Hugh Jackman basically ignoring his doctors orders to NOT sing because he had just had surgery on his nose, and singing would have popped the stitches. Hugh was like – bump that, I’m feeling this, and I’m going to channel EVERY BLACK CHURCH I’VE EVER BEEN IN while singing From Now On. Don’t believe me, just watch:
Another story line was that of Zac Efron’s – Carlyle and Zendaya’s Annie Wheeler – interracial love that also had to deal with socio-economic status as well. Carlyle a rich boy and Wheeler, one half of a brother sister trapeze duo. I do feel that this story was wrapped up a little too neatly, but that’s what a 2 hour time limit does for movies these days. This is also where lots of people were complaining about he lack of character development, and I’m sure if this was not a musical, and the musical numbers weren’t so FREAKING FANTASTIC, I would probably feel the same. But y’all – it’s a musical. We’re supposed to focus on the musical and then allow the story to happen in between.
My favorite scenes by far took place in the bar, and that’s hysterical to me because I don’t hang out in them. Bars are places where everyone should be free to be themselves, and with the premise of the movie being just that, the choice to have some of the greatest breakthroughs happen in the bar is neat – for lack of a better word. Given that I REALLY love the way that The Other Side was presented, and how From Now On really hit the nail on head. These two songs along with The Greatest Show were so much of what the movie was made up of. Listen, I saw the preview of the movie while watching Coco earlier this month and the Michael Jackson stance that Jackman takes along with The Greatest Show booming through the speakers was one of the main reasons that I knew that I needed to see the movie, and WHEN it came out.
Breakout star Keala Settle was amazing as the bearded lady – and let me tell you, she speaks a bit for ALL of us who have a bit of extra hair growing from our chins and upper lips when she belts out the ballad This Is Me. I may not be able to brush my whiskers with the same elegance as she does, and I may not be able to wear after-five attire and belt out my thoughts the way she does, but I know (on a small-scale) exactly how it feels to have someone stare at you for an extra amount of hair on your face. True story.
Overall, I was very happy to have seen the movie THIS MORNING, and done it before it had passed its week anniversary in the theaters. I did cry, and I’m not sure if it’s just more indication that I’m getting old because I cry at REALLY odd stuff these days, and I can’t even blame it on pregnancy. Good job to the writers, director and cast member, you’ve made sure to end my 2017 on a high note! (See what I did there?)