The Greatest Showman is a spectacular musical that strikes the right chord about embracing our differences [Review]

The Greatest Showman is a spectacular musical that strikes the right chord about embracing our differences [Review]

The film is nominated for three Golden Globe awards, including a Best Actor nomination for Hugh Jackman, but it isn't without its flaws

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"This Is Me" will steal your heart.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film

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Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) perform a soaring duet together.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film

The Greatest Showman is a dazzling, romantic, and theatrical musical, full of memorable poppy numbers and emotional drama. This star-studded film features stunning visuals and its 11 original songs are a treat for the ears. The story, based on true events, about celebrating humanity in all its forms will warm your heart.

Set in the 1830s, The Greatest Showman starts with P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) losing his desk job, but turns despair into inspiration and aspires to become a showman. It's not all for his vanity, though; Barnum wishes to provide for his upper-class lover, Charity (Michelle Williams), the life she’s used to. Barnum starts by collecting people who were curiosities - that is, people who were unusual and "not normal", who were often shunned by society - to put together a show that would later take the world by storm.


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With gorgeous cinematography, a well-knit plot, splendid stunts, breath-taking dance routines, a beautiful soundtrack, and fantastic performances by the cast, there is not a dull moment in its 139-minute run time.

Aside from the spectacle, the musical performances are the gem of this film. From the heartfelt, emotional and electrifying numbers by Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson (playing a famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind), to the bittersweet and aesthetically pleasing duet by Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), the music from this film will stay in your head long after the film's finished. The ensemble numbers by the actors playing the circus family will bring you joy, but will also make you cry. Their powerful vocals singing about their helplessness in being social outcasts, the one thing that also bonds them together like a family, is intense and emotional.

Show business was a place where the unusual was celebrated.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film

Plot-wise, Jackman as Barnum shows that the brighter you shine, the darker the shadow that's there to haunt you. His performance captures how greed and pride can grow alongside your ego and fame, but when all the applause and lights are gone, you’re left in complete darkness unless you can keep your eyes open for those who've been with you all along.

The Greatest Showman might be a little overly dramatic and superficial to authentically capture the true story of the creative entrepreneur Barnum, and the anachronistic music that doesn't suit the 1830s is sometimes a little jarring, but they're minor complaints when the overall product is so fun and spectacular.

Edited by Heidi Yeung

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