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THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

Michael Gracey · Australia · 2017 · 105 mins · PG
IMDbRotten Tomatoes

A wholesomely enraptured musical about the life of P.T. Barnum turns out to be a crowd-pleaser in the best sense: It's a concoction that soars. This good old-fashioned cornball musical is also a scintillatingly flashy immersion in up-to-the-minute razzmatazz.

It takes the life of P.T. Barnum, the anything-goes circus impresario of the 1800s, who is played with irresistible effervescence by Hugh Jackman, and turns him into a saintly huckster-maestro who invented the spirit of modern showbiz by daring to follow his dream.

At the same time, the film takes Barnum’s infamous believe-it-or-not attractions — Tom Thumb, Dog Boy, the Bearded Lady — and makes them over into sensitive enlightened outcasts, a kind of 19th-century freak-show gallery of identity politics.

How piously anachronistic is that? Very. Yet “Greatest Showman” wants to give you a splashy good time, and does, and it’s got something that takes you by surprise: a genuine romantic spirit. The numbers are shot like electromagnetic dance-pop music videos, and to say that they sizzle with energy wouldn’t do them justice — they’re like a hypodermic shot of joy to the heart.

The songs were composed by the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the lyrics for the songs in “La La Land,” and they’ve crafted rhythms and melodies that drive the movie — gorgeously — forward.  --Variety

"An impressively engrossing contemporary musical." Reel Film Reviews
“A gigantic, brassy, unashamedly over-the-(big)-top circus musical.” Time Out New York
Cast Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Jenny Lind, Kaela Settle
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