Anyway, the music that hits as the movie begins made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
I've read about circus history, so I'm sure a LOT of liberties were taken with Barnum's life story, but that's really not the point of the movie at all. The Greatest Showman is a lot like musicals of yore where maybe there's a plot if you squint. The real star of the show is the music, choreography, and acrobatic stunt work. (I'll forgive the obviously CGI animals). Immediately after it was over, I rushed out to buy the soundtrack.
I was somewhat hesitant to see this in theaters because of my aversion to Zac Efron. His character was tolerable, but by no means my favorite. "Rewrite the Stars," his duet with trapeze artist Anne, is the only song in the movie I didn't like at all; Efron's performance is just too whiny for me.
The circus scenes caused a flood of emotions. Growing up, my grandma used to take me to Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey when they came through on their summer tour. I came out each time with a huge smile on my face, a glossy souvenir program, and dreams of becoming a tiger trainer like Mark Oliver Gebel. Dumbo was one of my favorite cartoons. I would beg to go to a local off-brand circus the years Barnum & Bailey didn't come to town.
The cruel irony is this movie ended up being released the same year Barnum's show shut down for good. I actually cried because the finale tour came nowhere near my hometown, preventing me from seeing my beloved circus one last time. This movie is the closest my kids (should I ever have any) will get to the experiences I had watching the magic that took place in those three rings.
An hour and 45 minutes, kid-friendly, fantastic production values, and the eye candy that is Hugh Jackman. What more reasons do you need to see this for the first (or fourth) time?