Movies are commonly perceived as the finest form of entertainment, and the perfect two-hour escape from the real world, but the problem with The Greatest Showman is that you really do not want to go back to reality after those two hours. Hugh Jackman is P.T. Barnum, a man that grows up and lives in poverty, but that everyday fills his wife and daughters’ lives with dreams, hope and magic. When the company he is working for fires him, P.T. Barnum begins a life-changing journey that will lead him to richness and fame all over the world: he starts recruiting people with peculiar characteristics and puts together a show that very quickly becomes famous and acclaimed.
The strength of The Greatest Showman is that despite defining P.T. Barnum’s show as a circus, director Michael Gracey intelligently sets up a story that by the end of the movie becomes exactly the opposite: The Greatest Showman leads its audience into a world of acceptance and respect, it aims to teach how to embrace what is perceived as different and to present it as a source of strength, and therefore becomes a celebration of respect and love in all its forms.
To fully appreciate The Greatest Showman, you need to let yourself believe in magic for two hours, and even if rationally it seems impossible, its soundtrack and cast will make it extremely easy. It does not matter if you already knew all the songs even before entering the cinema or if you listened to them for the first time while watching the film, your head will not be able to forget them once the movie is over. From the Golden Globe winning ‘This Is Me’ to the heart-breaking ‘From Now On’, the soundtrack allows the audience to empathize with each and every character and therefore to become part of the story itself.
Except for the decision of making Rebecca Ferguson sing with playback instead of choosing a less known actress with a proper and real voice, the casting is perfect: Michelle Williams is a joy for the eyes and ears, Zac Efron has finally starred in a role worthy of his talent, and Zendaya has proved to have a bright future ahead of her. However, the performance that will be stuck in your head is the one given by Hugh Jackman. He acts, he sings, he dances: he was simply born for this role. If you like musicals go and see The Greatest Showman and if you do not like musicals, go and see it anyway! In a world that nowadays is full of hate and fear, this movie is a two-hour escape full of dreams, love and hope, and it is truly a breath of fresh air.
By Sara Di Nardo