Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and many others bring P.T Barnum’s circus to life from the 1800s. A great cast and an emotional film, and an amazing, inspirational musical. It’s a colourful, stylish, aesthetically bright film with a great story. You become warped into this lifestyle on screen.
If you don’t like musicals, cross this one off your list, because there are a lot of songs, a hell of a lot. Every emotion is sung, but what makes that ok is that the songs are great. Talking about songs, there are some great singers, which is of course needed! The best singer without a shadow of a doubt has to be Keala Settle, who sings the best song of the film ‘This is Me’. A great inspirational song that gets stuck in your head. Keala Settle, I have to mention, has a very similar voice as Amber Riley, or as most people know her as Mercedes in ‘Glee’, up to you whether you can hear it too… I have to admit, some of the songs are much better than others, but all performances are ones to dive into. For example, Zac Efron’s and Zendaya’s trapeze act was stunning and so cleverly put together.
Hugh Jackman plays P.T Barnum, who when loses his job turns to a completely different lifestyle and boldly buys out a museum. Hiring those who are ignored and hated in society, he creates a family in the theatre in a phenomenal vibrant show. Following this new life with P.T aka Phineas Taylor is his real family; wife Charity (Michelle Williams), and two daughters Caroline (Austyn Johnson) and Helen (Cameron Seely). Powered by wanting to give his family a life different from his childhood, he falls in the world of riches and one he’s only dreamed of, one he’s never known before. In a tricky choreographed fun dance with shot glasses, Barnum’s circus gains a young associate, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron). In this dance, spot the shot glass that Hugh Jackman drinks with no drink actually in… Additionally, in the show there is the General, Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey) who is mocked for his height, a trapeze act of Anne (Zendaya) and W.D (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a bearded lady with a voice so beautiful Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), and many more to create a show like none before. Painted as “freaks” by thugs in society, this musical becomes a drama emotional and empowering in strength of originality and uniqueness.
Sadly, there is something I have an issue with in this film. The editing seemed a bit lacking with the technology nowadays and with the amount of effort put into this film, I don’t understand why some parts seemed a bit fake. It’s not anything that ruined the film, because the film is more in the songs, the style and the story moral. Regardless, it wasn’t the best editing on the animals, especially the elephants – but with this point they weren’t actually anything important in the film anyway. Also, some songs did seem a bit dubbed and maybe slightly auto-tuned, which is a bit upsetting.
The film is extremely fast pace. The start revolves around the young lives of Phineas and Charity as childhood sweethearts destined not to be together since from different classes. We follow Phineas’ emotional childhood and soon as an adult. The pace doesn’t slow down there. The success of Barnum’s life races through the film quicker than anything. Soon, we have an outright successful show. But as this continues, in the background aspects start to diminish and multiple storylines become emotionally told for the audience.
This is definitely a musical different to many others. Just as P.T Barnum presents his show as unique, as is this film. It is an emotional film, to say the least I may have nearly cried in sections. The songs and performances are inspirational and clever. I definitely became more connected to the performances and dances than the songs I do have to admit. If you think you would enjoy this film, I would definitely recommend it because as you can see it’s clearly done extremely well in cinema and society. Especially the soundtrack.