The Greatest Showman PG (2017)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
Director: Michael Gracey
Writers: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
This under-rated musical has a lot going for it. The songs are upbeat and passionate, the choreography is vibrant and foot-stomping fun, and the themes are noble--follow your heart despite the circumstances; keep going after major set-backs; stay faithful to your wife in the face of temptation; be willing to admit your wrongs and change; understand that financial success does not equal happiness; and love society's rejects.
Hugh Jackman's shedding of the wolverine's character is the X-Men's loss and our gain. Again (Les Miserables was the first time I heard him sing), the actor proves he has great versatility and obvious musical talents. Michelle Williams also plays the role of his wife, Charity Barnum, superbly with compassion and sensitivity.
Unfortunately, there are a few flies in this otherwise delectable homemade soup. One is the romantic interlude with Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya). Let's just say her cut-offs are way too high. Another questionable scene involves the "bearded lady" belting out her "I am what I am" kind of song, which could be construed as a politically correct, all-inclusive, tolerance message. This time the cleavage is much too low. Call me a prude if you want, but bulbous breasts barely concealed on a rotund, hairy-faced, bouncing woman is not my idea of a magic moment at the movies.
Barnum also, in the film, and apparently in real life as well, did not have problems stretching the truth. For example, to the fat man he says, "How much do you weigh?" Fat man: "Five hundred pounds." Barnum: "Let's make it 750." To the tall man after he hears an Eastern European sounding name he says, "Let's make you an Irish giant." Barnum also lies to the bank about owning ships for collateral when, in truth, they are on the bottom of the ocean.
Despite these few disappointments, on the whole, my take away was positive and uplifting. I particularly liked the family scenes and the musical joy. This movie will no doubt be made into a play, appear on Broadway, and then be performed by high schools and community theaters all across the country.
"On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor...But God has put the body together giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other" (1Corinthians 12:23-25).