The Greatest Show On Earth? The Greatest Showman Film Review!

Last night Zack and I had a little venture to the cinema (yes, again), but this time it was to see The Greatest Showman. With an all-star cast and a brilliant trailer, I was really really looking forward to it.
Now, let’s just get this out of the way now, I’ll admit I was slightly worried about 2 aspects of this film. 1. The ‘freak’ show aspect, I really didn’t want this to be a horrid exploitation of these people. 2. The use of animals.
Both of these aspects of the film weren’t actually an issue to me. The ‘freak’ show aspect was not glorified, it was actually quite an inspiring presentation of the celebration of differences, with This Is Me being a highlight of the film for both Zack and I! It showed that these people who had been ostracised by society for so long had become a family and found a home, and it was heartwarming actually. Although I now know (after a little research) that barnum’s circus was actually not like this at all, I liked that this film showed that it could’ve been, and a celebration of differences and humanity is something that I am here for.
In terms of the animals, no real animals were actually used in this film, it was all CGI. Was the use of animals celebrated rather than condemned? Yes. That was my main issue with this film. But this film is set in a very different time period than ours, and such things were not frowned upon then. That doesn’t make it right, but the animal appearances lasted all of 30 seconds and barnum’s circus has recently been shut down because of their use of animals, so that’s a positive to be taken from this situation.
Now onto the rest of the film.
I. LOVED. IT.
Zendaya and zac Efron were bloody incredible, as well as Hugh Jackman stealing the show as the Greatest Showman of all. The songs were catchy, upbeat and inspiring. Zac’s high notes were impressive, if a little over auto-tuned, and I loved the soundtrack that much that I made us listen to it on the way home (and I haven’t stopped singing it since!). The first beat of the opening song gave me goosebumps that didn’t go away until we got into the car later on. And I found myself forgetting to breathe at some points, it was that awe-inspiring.
Visually, this film is simply stunning. Honestly, just beautiful. It looked like everything I could’ve imagined and more, and I was amazed.
However, I didn’t look up the critical response to this film until after I watched it. And, let’s just say, it isn’t great.
A lot of critics seem to have a problem with the truth and fact behind the film. Does this film portray an accurate biography of barnum’s life? Absolutely not. But, does it have to? Absolutely not.
I think sometimes we forget that films are meant to be enjoyed. This film is a light-hearted musical which is meant to entertain. No, it doesn’t contain barnum’s escapades in politics or the civil war (at all), but it doesn’t have to, does it? It’s a musical, about a show, and absolutely nowhere does it claim to be anything else.
If you go to watch this film (which I would strongly suggest that you do if you love musicals!) take it as a light-hearted musical. An incredible, light-hearted musical and nothing else. That way, you may leave feeling just as amazed and awe-struck as I did.
Thanks for reading.
Love,
H x

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