Hugely entertaining and perfect for the whole family, the modern take on the classic movie musical THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is a lot of fun.
Hugh Jackman is PT Barnum, who rises from a poor childhood to become a hugely successful showman, offering audiences something they've never seen before.
Jackman is terrific as Barnum, infusing the movie with a lot of energy and passion as a visionary determined to prove himself and find wealth and the respect that he thinks will come alongside it.
Michelle Williams (All The Money In the World, The Station Agent) is his wife Charity. She's in fine voice as a woman who grew up with privilege, but loved PT regardless of his social status.
Barnum found his first true success presenting a circus filled with people who would be called oddities, or likely "freaks" back in the day. The film's success is in casting some incredible people in those roles.
Keala Settle is a standout as Lettie, the bearded woman in the menagerie, as is Zendaya (Spiderman:Homecoming) as Anne Wheeler, a beautiful young trapeze artist with eyes for legitimate Broadway producer Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) who PT is hoping to bring aboard to add critical approval to his show.
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Girl On the Train) is terrific as opera singer Jenny Lind, who PT wants to present to American audiences to gain highbrow approval.
At the film's core are many great new songs by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, the Academy Award winning team behind last year's huge hit "La La Land" and Tony Winners last year for their Broadway hit, "Dear Evan Hansen".
Their songs are not traditional Broadway musical numbers, but a clever blend of modern pop and traditional theatre ballads.
Lind's first stage performance of "Never Enough" is a showstopper, Efron and Zendaya's trapeze sequence singing "Rewrite the Stars" is probably the highlight of the film and several big power anthems, "Come Alive" and "From Now On" are crowd pleasers.
The film's opening moments are a terrific set up for what's to come.
The film starts with the old 20th Century Fox logo and Alfred Newman's fanfare music from the 60's, before shuttering off the screen and being replaced by a modern Fox logo and the loud, pop downbeats of the opening number "The Greatest Show" with Jackman alone on screen in spotlight singing its opening phrases.
The choreography is great throughout, mostly thanks to a lack of modern quick edits and cuts. You actually get to see all the cast dancing the entire number, as you would on the stage and the film's much better for it.
We really enjoyed this modern take on a traditional family musical. Since its Christmas release, it's more than doubled its $85 million budget worldwide.
It's nice to see that audiences will still come out for a well made, enjoyable family film loaded with talent and a great message on inclusion and diversity. Most critics savaged the movie, it's likely too positive and old fashioned for our current negative climate where instant anger, negativity and finding something to be offended by has replaced the ability to purely enjoy entertainment.
We just relaxed and enjoyed THE GREATEST SHOWMAN and it gets a solid B. (Tamara gives it an A++)