2021 Movie Draft: The Greatest Showman

2021 Movie Draft: Round 3, Pick 4

Featured on SLICETHELIFE.COM

Genre: Musical

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!

Best,

Reely Bernie

20 thoughts on “2021 Movie Draft: The Greatest Showman

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  1. Greatest Showman is one of my favorite- so far, it is my favorite musical that hasn’t been on stage. Hugh Jackman shines as Barnum. It was incredible seeing Zac Efron- I was around him when he was Troy Bolton, so I loved seeing a more grown-up version as him.

    Haven’t seen Greatest Showman a lot more than the Les Mis film. You have to remember I fell in love with Les Mis by the film- seen it so many times I wore it out that I had to buy a 2nd copy. Plus, Greatest Showman belongs to my sister, but I do have the soundtrack.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool you mention both Greatest Showman and Les Mis. They are MY most viewed, constantly repeated go-to musicals! Les Mis astounds me because every shot was recorded live without sound editing or cuts. It is raw, natural, human performances! Yeah, Hugh and Zac really give this their all in Greatest Showman – physically, mentally, musically, and spiritually. I believed in their every word and note in this musical movie! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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  2. Lots of stuck-up critics aren’t a fan of this one… I’m by no means planning on buying the digital media but it’s much better then what they give it credit for! Actually saw it in theaters twice, the second time because my friends had not seen it yet and wanted to go, so I just tagged along.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree. That’s a sure sign of a movie you really liked – seeing it again in the theatre with friends! I remember being so blown away in 1999 with Magnolia that I did three additional trips to the theatre with three different groups of friends. Keep up the good work, Conductor!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never seen this film (sadly, I no longer see nearly as many films as I used to), nor am I familiar with any of its songs. I guess I should remedy that sad situation soon.

    My favorite movie musical – and all-time favorite movie – is, and for the rest of my life will be, “The Wizard of Oz”. But a close second is “The Music Man”, followed by “Singin’ in the Rain”, “Gypsy” and “The Sound of Music”.

    Liked by 1 person

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