“The Greatest Showman” lives up to its name

By Emily Bonsant, Contributor

You have probably heard of “The Greatest Showman” by now. It’s that circus musical that came out on Christmas. Hugh Jackman plays P.T Barnum, the man who started having an extravagant variety show under a tent. Needless to say he had a flare for show business. Zac Efron re-enters the musical genre and plays Barnum’s upper-class business partner Phillip Carlyle. Carlyle assists Barnum in legitimizing the show. The Greatest Showman is not only a historically based around Barnum’s circus, it is also about humanity coming together regardless of differences in appearance. Barnum views the circus folk- such as the Bearded Lady and Dog Boy- not as freaks to gap at, but as unique individuals to celebrate. Barnum turns what others would call a “freak show” into a celebration of humanity and an admiration for the “gifted” and “unique.”


Not only is the story and cinematography phenomenal, the music is frustratingly catchy. The music perfectly matches the lyrics. The opening scene starts with the song, “The Greatest Show.” Jackman stalks backstage singing deeply, and enticing the audience with promises of unbelievable sights. He then emerges from backstage in a red ringmaster costume followed by elephants. The music, choreography and editing are fantastically cohesive. Even without the phenomenal colors used in the film, the images would still stand on their own. Every frame is a spectacle. The camera becomes part of the choreography. During the rendition of “The Other Side” the mix of editing and choreography is impeccable. When the music swells and then drops, Barnum spins Carlyle in his chair simultaneously and the camera spins as well. It is subtle, but genius. These edits and movements of the camera makes the viewer feel included in the film, which intern makes us feel like we are in the stands under the red tarp.


“The Greatest Showman” really is “everything you ever want, everything you ever need.”


The Greatest Showman is out On Demand today and is still running at the Garland Theatre and Hayden Cinema 6 the rest of the week. So you can stop viewing that pirated version with Mandarin subtitles. Rated PG.