“Imagine a place where people can see things they’ve never seen before.” – P. T. Barnum
The Greatest Showman–directed by Michael Gracey–is a recent original movie since it was released in the near end of 2017. The movie is bringing the 19th century touch in the United States and punctuated with 11 original songs that are composed by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek–who also wrote songs for La La Land (2016). In sum, the movie tells about ‘A Million Dreams’ of P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) that some of them are bizarre for some people, but deep in his heart he wants to make people around him happy. And to make those happen, he must pursue as hard as walking on the tightrope, with her supportive wife Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams) who always stays by his side. Though I must say that this work is not an art-worthy at all, to be honest I am blown away with their characters’ appreciation, fiery energies and entertainments, and some sharp words.
From the beginning of the movie, the audiences are made blown away with Barnum’s appearance in red impresario coat and top hat, while opening his circus performance with his loyal performers and CGI animals and performing ‘The Greatest Show’ with a short yet festive choreography. As a result, his performance draws a big applauses from circus audiences, and of course Barnum is happy with that. But, who would ever expect that this kind of situation is just a mere illusion? Such an irony, but an interesting and great effort to begin the plot.
As the plot is going along, audiences are made blown away again with the deathly conversation, duet, and choreography by Barnum and Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) who perform ‘The Other Side’ in a bar, with a bartender who is ready to serve shots of alcohol for them. But, it would be better if this scene is done with just one take–since it is my favourite choreography of all. Next, is a grand performance from a graceful nightingale in Europe Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) who do a lip sync of ‘Never Enough’ with a beautiful voice from one of The Top 20 of The Voice – Season 3 contestants Loren Allred. In the end, as expected, she gains a big standing applauses from audiences who attend her concert there.
Audiences are made more blown–even carried away–by a “propaganda” which is performed by the circus performers like Lettie Lutz or known as The Bearded Lady (Keala Settle) and Charles Stratton or known as General Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey) in ‘This Is Me’. Deep meaningful and sharp words, also the fiery energies from the performers here. Besides being sang by them, the second version of ‘This Is Me’ is also sung by Kesha and already released in the last December 22, 2017. Don’t forget the romantic chemistry of Phillip and his girlfriend Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), an acrobat and a trapeze artist in Barnum’s circus, with a sensational acrobat in trapezes ‘Rewrite the Stars’. And, a little solo waltz from Charity in simple but sharp words of ‘Tightrope’.
“You are putting folks of all kinds on the stage with you, presenting them as equals.” – James Gordon Bennet (to Barnum)
People know Hugh Jackman in his long-running role as Wolverine in X-Men movie series. But, for them–including me–his singing skill is not a doubt. Starting from his participation in a theatre course in his final year of university in Australia. Then, participated in a Broadway musical theatre The Boy from Oz (2003) as Peter Allen, which made him won Tony Award in Best Actor in a Musical nomination. Also, his role as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (2012) which made him won Golden Globe Award in Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination.
On the other side, thanks to his role as Troy Bolton in High School Musical movie series, people have no doubt with Zac Efron’s skills in singing and dancing which is–unexpectedly–still attached in him. After completing those movie series that were loved by teenage girls back then, Zac also played in some of the non-musical movies like 17 Again (2009) and The Lorax (2012). His comeback in the musical movie–which is The Greatest Showman–made him felt like “home”, also treated Zac’s fans who missed his singing and dancing skills.
Overall, the movie really gave me a lot of affections. Every scenes, songs, choreographies, positive energies from the casts, also sharp and emotional messages for the audiences. I like when the movie positions itself as a story celebrating diversity, and the importance of embracing all kinds. It was indeed the greatest show I had never seen before.