Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the movie, “The Greatest Showman”(2017):
It’s been a long time since I have seen a film of a musical and went “Wow! Double Wowwee.” Then as soon as I saw it, I wanted to see it again. “The Greatest Showman” is that kind of movie. Director Michael Gracy has given us a movie that celebrates the joy a movie can give an audience.
From the opening scene with Hugh Jackman doing his P. T. Barnum, I was taken for a ride and what a wondrous ride it was. The plot of the film is thin. It’s the cliche of a rags to riches story with a bit of “The Elephant Man”. It is the story of P. T. Barnum creating his circus and becoming the Walt Disney of his time. What makes this movie so special is the music and the dancing and the singing.
Hugh Jackman is one of the few working actors today who could have pulled off the role. Michelle Williams plays the love of his life, his wife, Charity Barnum. Who knew she could sing like that? Zac Efron shines as he supports Hugh Jackman as Barnum’s partner, Phillip Carlyle. Adding to the Wowness of it all is Zendaya as Anne Wheeler. And then there is the “This Is Me” performance by Keala Settle.
If that wasn’t enough. Rebecca Ferguson portrays Jenny Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale”. Of all the great music in “The Greatest Showman”. it was Jenny Lind’s “Never Enough” that brought tears to my eyes. While it was Ferguson who brought Jenny Lind to life, it was Loren Allred who gave the song its voice. I can imagine Jenny Lind standing before an audience and delivering this kind of performance.
It’s wonderful to see that there are those who can still give us musicals like “The Sound of Music”, “Mary Poppins”, “West Side Story” and “My Fair Lady”. Thank you, Michael Gracy and the actors and crew of “The Greatest Showman”. And a giant applause for Pasek and Paul for composing so many great songs.
If ever there was a movie musical that would make a great stage play, this is it.