Hugh Jackman is presumably done with playing Wolverine in the X-Men franchise for the rest of his life, but he’s back on the big screen to showcase his acting chops once again. Known for his spectacular roles in Broadway shows such as The Boy from Oz and Carousel, and for his Academy Award nominated performance in Les Misérables, The Greatest Showman perfectly proves that this man can sing.
Directed by newcomer Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman is a magnificent and well-acted biographical musical about the showman and founder of the legendary Barnum & Bailey Circus named Phineas Taylor Barnum, known for recruiting “unique” people and showcasing their talent. The film chronicles aspects of his life, such as falling in love with a woman named Charity (Michelle Williams) and setting up a museum that later becomes a worldwide musical sensation.
What really helps the film is the talented ensemble. With a fantastic cast of actors such as Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya, everyone does a phenomenal job giving depth to their character and making the audience care about them. Jackman is absolutely sensational as P.T. Barnum, who goes from a young child who’s down on his luck to a showman and businessman wanting to provide for his family. Even the beginning perfectly sets the vibe of the film and showcases the lead actor’s talent, stage presence, and charisma.
High School Musical established Zac Efron’s fame as an actor/singer, and he again shows likability as Barnum’s apprentice Philip Carlyle. Disney Channel star Zendaya also shines as Efron’s love interest. Broadway singer Keala Settle is the true scene-stealer as the bearded lady Lettie Lutz. She even has her own song titled “This is Me”, which is one of the best songs in the entire film. The circus performers, while feared by the city, are not afraid to stand up for themselves. It has a powerful message of telling the audience to just be yourself and find happiness.
Speaking of songs, the musical numbers are a lot of fun! Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Academy Award winning songwriters of La La Land, the musical performances are spectacularly choreographed and magnificent to look at. Even non-musical fans might enjoy these extravagant acts. Don’t think that just because this is a musical, the scenes without any singing whatsoever will be boring. The script, written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon, adds humour, emotion, and intensity to every scene without making the story feel cheesy or lose its focus.
The Greatest Showman proves that musical films aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is a beautifully shot, colourful, wonderfully acted, and touching film about a man wanting to feel respected by society and looking for outcasts to just be themselves. If you’re a musical enthusiast, you certainly must not miss seeing this amazing spectacle.
The Greatest Showman is now playing in theatres.