The Greatest Showman exceeds expectations, showcases impressive soundtrack

Source: Stamford Arts Centre

Source: Stamford Arts Centre

Henry Schleizer, asst. sports editor

I didn’t even want to see The Greatest Showman. I thought the trailer looked cheesy, the story looked uninteresting and Hugh Jackman was making a big career mistake taking on the role of P.T. Barnum. Walking into the theater, my expectations were not very high, and I was ready to be unimpressed. Little did I know, an hour and 45 minutes later, I would be texting my friends about one of the best movies I had ever seen.

Starting the story with protagonist P.T. Barnum’s childhood made sense, although the story isn’t geared towards the actual life of Barnum, but the history of the circus. Showing how Barnum had a wide imagination helped paint the theme of the circus in the story early, and that he was not afraid to take risks and had a vision for the things he wanted to achieve.

The best movies are the ones that make you feel something, and this movie made me feel. A lot. A critical moment in the film that made me seethe with emotion was when Barnum brought the world renowned opera singer Jenny Lind to America. Barnum’s reason for bringing Lind to America was to fulfill his vision of appealing to the upper class of society, which strayed from his original ideas of the circus and what made him happy. After what was supposed to be a one time performance from Lind, Barnum decided to orchestrate an entire tour across America with Lind. Barnum left his wife and his two young girls to go on tour. I was very upset. I thought this represented the importance of chasing your dreams and tending to the responsibilities life hands you.

Along with the storyline, what made me fall in love with the film was the music. At first listen, the catchy upstart beat of the music is enough to make you want to tap your feet, but the lyrics were also deep and resonated with many viewers. Including me. The way that director Michael Gracey told the story of the lives and emotions of the characters not only told the story in such a unique way, it got me hooked on the soundtrack. “Never Enough” draws on the idea that Barnum fails to recognize his already great achievements in the search for more, which ultimately leads to his downfall and return to glory. “Never Enough” stood out to me, because it showed how humanity often overlooks their accomplishments in search for more, when they already have all they desire.

Something that threw me off was how loosely the movie followed Barnum’s actual experiences. I expected the story to focus on how he built the circus and the popularity of the circus off of his will, not with the help of an apprentice, and I would have liked to see a more accurate depiction of his life. However, because the movie plays more on emotion, Jackman was able to emphasize Barnum’s ideas and the popularity of the circus and why it was so successful.

Looking back, I was impressed by the music, acting and performances, especially Jackman Is there anything Hugh Jackman can’t do?