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P.T. Barnum’s true story

Grace Wilson, Web Assistant

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The Greatest Showman, a movie written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and directed by Michael Gracey, was inspired by the true creation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus of 1919. Although the recent film received three nominations at the Golden Globe Awards, it still brings differing reviews from critics.

The story revolves around P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) who live a simple life with their daughters. Once Barnum is laid off from his job, he takes the risky bet of buying a museum that morphs into an oddities show, full of society’s “freaks.” Soon, the circus is his only focus and he becomes increasingly obsessed with fame as he finds a rising opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson). He begins to neglect his family at home.

The story line includes a love interest between Bailey (Zac Efron) and one of the performers (Zendaya) that spikes controversy between the circus world and the upper class.

Largely due to the nine original complex songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the production took seven years to create. The music puts a great emphasis on the sound of common objects and the filming is absolutely beautiful with vivid colors and scenery. Filming certain circus acts in slow motion, producers have a made a work of art.

Unrealistic animated animals appear in the circus however and the plot line is very predictable. In some ways the movie is too extravagant – at times auditorily and visually cluttered and could have been toned down. Though the budget for this creation was $84,000,000, the movie grossed more than twice that amount once in theatres.

Ending with a quote from the original P.T. Barnum, the film leaves an impact: “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” Go see “The Greatest Showman” in theatres for the artistic value and to discover if Barnum will change his ways and whether or not his circus will be a success (although I’m sure you already know the answer).

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P.T. Barnum’s true story