Image result for the greatest showman movie poster

2021 Movie Draft- Round 3 Pick 4- Reely Bernie selects-

Musical: The Greatest Showman

(TSG Entertainment, 2017)

Rated PG for thematic elements

Directed by Michael Gracey

Starring: Hugh Hackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron

The Greatest Showman on Repeat

By Bernie Sauer

Even though I adore a classic like The Wizard of Oz (1939) or The Sound of Music (1965), commend Les Miserables (2012) for its groundbreaking technical achievements, and praise postmodern movie musical revivals like The Phantom of the Opera (2004) or Rent (2005), I have probably seen The Greatest Showman more than any of these musicals combined.

The Greatest Showman is solid, reliable entertainment for the very sake of a short movie break, a longer escape with popcorn in the dark, or for just hitting play to energetic background music in the house while taking quick glances at the images on the screen (the perfect musical for cleaning the house, doing the dishes, or bouncing a newborn in a chair).  

Every song is a catchy, awe-inspiring hit, every choreography number is entrancing, and the story – albeit extremely fictional in its references to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus – is a humble ode to following your dreams and accepting others for who they are on the outside and the inside. As I mention over and over again in my reviews, I watch movies for the feelings, not the facts. Yes, we all know the real Barnum was an exploitative politician and prick businessman, but these particulars wouldn’t make for a fun musical, now would they? (Plus, if you’re going to be that nit-picky with cinematic facts, then you would have to discredit The Sound of Music’s backstory and take away the smiles of our upbringing.)

 This is an airtight , seamless, and remarkably joyful musical production. Hugh Jackman is an astounding performer, defying age and igniting hope in youngsters and adults alike with that million-dollar smile.

Zac Efron matches up in talent, and along with Keala Settle, Zendaya, and Michelle Williams, the vocals rock the house as both a soundtrack in your AirPods or blasted through the windows of your car or house.

The cynics out there can continue misconstruing the movie’s message all they want. I’m not sure how they cannot hear the ballad against shame in the power hit, “This Is Me.” I don’t know how they cannot acknowledge the possibilities of forgiveness and transformation in “Rewrite the Stars.” It’s a choice, I guess, but the Barnum in this original movie musical embraces acceptance, no matter how imperfectly human you are.

The Greatest Showman is a “feel good” of the decade if you want it to be.

Personally, it is my go-to when I’m feeling down, and I continue to discover something new with each viewing.

You can’t ask for more in a movie, a musical, or an experience.

Thank you for reading and please let me know what your favorite movie musical is!


Reely Bernie

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  1. Pingback: 2021 Movie Draft: The Greatest Showman (2017) – Reely Bernie·

  2. It moves along – narrative, music, energy. I remember not liking the fact that most of the “sets” were CGI-oriented, but watch any musical or live-action revival in the last 5 years: They all are. What works in this one is melodically explosive music with advanced choreography and a slick lead actor in Hugh who holds the whole things on his humble shoulders. My newborn is digging the sounds too!

  3. I haven’t seen this Bernie. It does look like an uplifting movie. Yep… if you want more facts go see a documentary.

    I will see it within a week Bernie and give it a shot!

  4. I saw it last year and enjoyed it. One of the best musicals to come out in awhile. WAY better than la la land. I also liked the message of inclusion and the idea that one person’s belief and encouragement can be the impetus for acceptance of those who are different. My older son’s gf has a sweatshirt that says, “Normal people scare me” on it. Williams and Efron play great foils to the star of the show, Jackman, and a wonderful support cast.

  5. I just happened to catch this back in December on TNT…or AMC (Paramount?)…something like that. I’m a big Hugh Jackman fan and I love musicals. He is so versatile. He can dance. He can sing. He can cut you to ribbons with adamantium claws (the actor with the longest running comic book character come to life in the history of film making).

    I knew when I saw this that it wasn’t going to be “true to character.” P. T. Barnum was an ass. Shortly after I saw it, I stumbled across this and posted about it:

  6. @msjadeli: I agree. I was surprised by how many (younger) viewers on letterboxd ripped on the movie for promoting a bigot. Again, in the movie, this Barnum is the exact opposite, and if you go with the flow of the movie (suspend disbelief), it’s pure entertainment you’re supposed to let go of 🙂

  7. I remember watching this back in school one day! When it comes to musicals I am very picky, but this was such a joy! Hugh Jackman did so well in this role, and quite a good singer as well!!!

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