The Greatest Showman stunning cinematic achievement

P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) comes alive with the oddities in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

NEVER enough.

Dear Reader, in the more than four years that I have been sitting in the dark watching and then honestly reviewing endless gawful movies … I have relished trashing so many films that they seem to flicker by like flashes of light.

Deservedly so.

Only rarely does a motion picture cause me to pause and bring more than one tear to my eye.

So it is with “The Greatest Showman”… a stunning cinematic achievement by Hugh Jackman (“Logan”) and an all-star cast that tells the fairy-tale, bio-pic story of P.T. Barnum and his circus of oddity attractions—including the “bearded woman,” acrobats and jugglers that went on to not only bring untold wealth and fame for Barnum but became the foundation for the “three-ring” circus that swept the globe for decades beyond.

I will never have enough of this movie.

Told (in total) as a flashback, “The Greatest Showman” begins with Jackman as the world’s greatest hustler and “song and dance man” and then instantly shoves the audience back in time to his teenage years; living in abject poverty and the death of his equally destitute father.

Eventually the young Barnum is reduced to stealing apples from a local store owner.

Throughout Barnum’s childhood we see his blossoming devotion for the young Charity Hallett (Michelle Williams) with never ending letters being exchanged.

The two quickly age and so too does their love.

Hugh Jackman (P.T. Barnum) and Zac Efron (Philip Carlisle) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

They mature into adulthood, marry and are blessed with two young daughters.

Sensing the public’s fascination and curiosity inthe strange and bizarre, Barnum, with his dedicated wife at his side, cobble together what money they can and create (what eventually becomes) the world’s first, indoor circus.
At first … it fails … before Barnum goes on a publicity rampage.

The crowds quickly swell and so too does Barnum’s financial coffers.

Filmed on location in New York City, “The Greatest Showman” then introduces additional cast members, including Phillip Carlyle, (Zac Efron) a “playwright who becomes Barnum’s partner. He is a composite character partly based on James Anthony Bailey” and as the eventual financier, has a delightful (and volcanic) love affair with acrobat and trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) … and after a private presentation of his circus troupe to Queen Victoria, Barnum is introduced to the Swedish nightingale, Jenny Lynn (Rebecca Ferguson).

That’s when this writer’s world came crashing in.

I will truly never get enough of this movie.

As earlier stated, in written form I have both elevated motion pictures to their rightful state of celestial grace and purposely destroyed as many films that ink and pen can provide.

Yet, at precisely 49:06 into “The Greatest Showman,” Ferguson’s Lynn is presented to the stage and performs, in all fairness, the Best Song of 2017 and one that had this cynical film critic in tears.

Weeping is more precise.

P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams) share an enchanting dance on a New York rooftop in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

Jenny Lynn, the on-stage Diva (with precise lip syncing to the voice of Ms. Loren Allred a performer in season three of TV’s “The Voice” in America) then set the 35’ silver screen ablaze. As she belts out “Never Enough,” Barnum looks on, just off-stage and is aghast at this incredible performance, breathless and simply overwhelmed.

With original songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a marvelous outing from a rookie, first time director, Michael Gracey, “The Greatest Showman” is anchored by a superb screenplay from the duo
of Jenny Bricks and Bill Condon (director of 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast”).

“The Greatest Showman” is also a film about racial equality, skin color blindness and never taking “no” as the final answer. Jackman pushed his studio
bosses until they gave the green light for this film and when he is on camera, is truly magnificent.

The songs by Pasek and Paul may sound sugary sweet but are delivered with the passion of a Summer Olympic sportscaster sharing a Gold Medal competition.

Not only was this writer stunned by the “duet” of Ms. Ferguson & Ms. Allred, Dear Reader, it was at this exact moment that “The Greatest Showman” instantly took its rightful place among the cinema’s greatest movie musicals.

When you think of “My Fair Lady,” “La La Land,” “Fiddle on the Roof” or “West Side Story” … “The Greatest Showman” now must be uttered in these same lofty realms.

I will never have enough of this film.

Never enough.

So should you!

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