Director – Michael Gracey

Role Play

( Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle, Paul Sparks, Yahya Abdul Mateen)

Nose Candy

“Do these smiles seem fake It doesn’t matter where they come from as long as the joy is real”

“No one ever made a difference being like somebody else”

“I was treated like dirt. My father was treated like dirt. My children will not be”

“I never minded the risk as ling as we did it together”

“We don’t need a building all we need is a tent”

Style Points

  • Performance numbers and sequences
  • Barnum turning into young Barnum’s reflection in window
  • Barnum at job then pan to the cemetery
  • Blur focus at Charity’s staircase
  • Silent applause after dreaming with your eyes wide open number
  • Theater fire scene

At what point do we overlook someones personal attributes for their talent or artistic works? Is it wrong to admire an athletes heroics or enjoy listening to a good song from an artist who has character issues? The Greatest Showman is a look inside  the innovator of show business’s PT Barnums life and rise to prominence. Barnum is a visionary and his groundbreaking creation has evolved into one of the greatest experiences in history. I wanted to do something different with this film review because I thought the whole hate the sin, love the sinner catch 22 is well on display in this movie. This film strictly decides to focus on Barnums positive contributions while not even bothering to touch on his evil deeds which I to me doesn’t seem right.

Truthfully the inception of the circus was founded on the mistreatment of people of color and those with physical and mental defects. Barnum exhibited enslaved African-Americans and made them perform on stage referring to them as freaks. He exhibited elderly paralyzed slave Joice Heth as 161 years old and made her stay on stage even at a women’s hospital. When Heth died Barnum sold tickets to her funeral and to view the autopsy. The Greatest Showman refuses to touch on any of these issues.

Another exception that I had with this film was the refusal of utilizing the term African-American. Race is only implied here with phrases like “people like us.” I love Zendaya but this film never referenced her being an african american woman. Even though her brother in the film was more dark skin, in Hollywood roles still seem to go to african americans with lighter shades. The scene where Phillip was holding Anne’s hand then noticed the negative reaction from his parents and decided to let go took so much away from a climatic moment. The blatant omission of exploitation of african americans in the inception of show business is not only a disservice to history but is also bad storytelling.

The Greatest Showman is a spectacle and fun to watch. The cast was great as Hugh Jackman was incredible. Zach Efron and Zendaya were perfect for their roles as this film showcased many of their talents. The musical numbers were exceptional and I must admit the songs were pretty catchy and will be stuck in your head even days later. Cinematically there is not a lot of use of the camera and the effects were not impressive for a film by todays standards. The performances however were visually pleasing which more than made up for those deficiencies. This film is called The Greatest Showman and depicts PT Barnums life from his adolescence. I am not picking on this film but it omits historical facts about the founder which make it less credible. Clearly the makers of this movie did not want to showcase Barnum in any type of negative light. Outside of that this film is a beautiful showcase guilty enough to make viewers escape in the magic.

-Caleb Harris

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