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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
Last night, I waited excitedly amongst the crowd in Welwyn Garden City to see a film with much promise. The Greatest Showman, directed by the up and coming Michael Gracey, set out to bring broadway to the cinema world once again. The cast was promising: from the versatile Jack Hughes and powerhouse singer/actress Keara Settle to Disney prodigy Zendaya - even Zac Efron returned to the musical world for the film. The Greatest Showman draws inspiration from the 19th century circus impresario Phineas PT Barnum played by Jackman Hughes, who is alleged to be largely responsible for the entertainment business we know of fondly today. The film is loosely inspired by Barnum and depicts the showman as a body-positive accepting opportunity-giver rather than revealing him as an opportunist like history recalls.
Set in the 1800s, the film portrays the life of an American man who was brought up as a lower-class citizen in the hands of the rich. Barnum marries a wealthy aristocrat with whom he has two beautiful little girls and despite the obvious love each character holds for the another Barnum dreams of providing his family with a better life. After the company he works for goes bankrupt, Barnum takes a gamble by opening the America’s ‘museum of curiosity’, which features exotic stuffed animals. Once Barnum begins recruiting what he calls 'freaks' - people who have been largely unaccepted by the general public and even more so by the elite - the museum starts to draw much attention. This includes the outpour of judgemental critics which eventually lead to the museum being burnt down. It is at this point that Barnum realises that in his quest for acceptance he hurt those closest to him. He, and his junior partner, start the circus again this time in a tent and the rest is history!
By far, the best part of the film for me was the magical blend of dance and song. The songs were written by award-winning Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote songs for La La Land. The purpose of a musical is to exit the theatre or cinema with the songs still in your head and the film certainly achieved that for me. Each song captured the essence of the moment perfectly. ‘The Other Side’ is one perfect example of a fusion between a catchy, momentous song and carefully-planned choreography to deliver a scene in the form of music. Another fine example is ‘Rewrite the Stars’ between Zac Efron and Zendaya, who plays the trapezist Anne, who is in love with a white aristocrat but fears public opinion. The anthem of the film is ‘This is Me’ and represents the message of acceptance and love the film portrays. Each song is accompanied by well-thought choreography which required great strength and skill from the actors.
I would certainly not call the film a biography of Barnum, as the directors largely intended to gift the audience with a cheesy and heartwarming story of hope and love. Barnum’s historical dark past was buried and the director re-created the character giving a narration of what could have been a much nicer start to show business. If you are looking for a fun, lovable film for a cosy night I would fully recommend sitting back with some popcorn and pillows as you prepare to see the greatest showman in action!