Let me start off by saying that musicals aren’t really my type of films, and at its heart, that is what this is. However, this is the first musical I have managed to relate to and enjoy. There truly is something for all ages with this film, making it hard not to like. This film is actually quite informative about the life of P.T Barnum, showing him progress from being a child well into his establishing of his Circus. The ability to capture the wonder, awe, and imagination of the Circus and of P.T Barnum himself, would be quite a tall order for any actor, but Hugh Jackman manages to pull it off with ease never breaking the immersion once. The rest of the cast also do a great job with especially great turns from Zac Efron and Zendaya, with quite a believable romance; that doesn’t fall prey to the usual stereotypes of musical romances. Furthermore, the most rememberable song was the bar scene when Barnum tries to recruit play write Phillip to the circus, with the most creative use of shots I’ve ever seen in a film. The overall problem with the film is that some of the songs sound quite similar to each other, and some quite poor lip-synching especially with Rebecca Ferguson’s Jenny Lind during her big number it’s quite apparent it isn’t her who is singing. Furthermore, the mid point character transformation of Barnum also feels quite unbelievable, with him going from a nice family man who cares about his friends and workers to a man only concerned with chasing fame and status. With this shift being an interesting one but ultimately one that feels rushed. The side shows performers all being quite interesting flushed out characters, although they all share a similar arc, the character progression with these characters feels just that bit more earned.
Ultimately the film is a joyful Christmas film, that fills you with optimism and can brighten even the blackest day
reviewed by Luke