Mumbai: The Sydney premiere of "The Greatest Showman" became an eventful night for Bollywood since Hugh Jackman mentioned that he took inspiration from Shah Rukh Khan for the film. Hugh Jackman along with Zac Efron star in this musical created to teach audiences to dream big and live bigger.
It does start off with a bang - that opening number set at the circus, with Jackman in a top hat and long red coat, wielding a cane and recalling the stylish emcee in "Pippin". Zac Efron is infuriatingly talented.
The performer who brought worldwide fame to Barnum-the little person Charles Stratton, whose stage name was General Tom Thumb-was only four years old when Barnum met him.
Born a poor tailor's son, Barnum is a scrappy kid with brass-ring dreams and an enduring crush on the unattainably rich and lovely Charity (Michelle Williams) to match. The song's final section with the two dancing on a rooftop is especially stunning.
"So it took us seven-and-a-half years to get this one going and I'm really grateful to Fox that they took a bet on this", he continued. In 1871, Barnum joined forces with circus owners Dan Castello and William C. Coup to kick off P.T. Barnum's Grand Travelling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome. The strength of the songs allows their anachronisms to not be too distracting. Curiosity about Barnum's life (sparked not by the movie but by a footnote in an edition of Melville's "The Confidence-Man", a novel not without its own Barnumesque echoes) sent me to his memoir, "Struggles and Triumphs", which gives life to a voice and a round of activity that aren't heard or seen in "The Greatest Showman". Nonetheless, it's hard not to think of the multiple ways this film sweeps Barnum's more troublesome actions under the rug.
It's more than a pity that none of Barnum's "Freaks" is allowed to be much of a differentiated individual in a movie that ultimately disparages him for opting to promote "Swedish nightingale" Jenny Lind and life along the swells over the original people who made him famous.
This latest biopic about Barnum, starring Hugh Jackman, isn't the first, either; however, it might be the flashiest.
A passion project for Jackman now that his Wolverine has moseyed into the sunset, "The Greatest Showman" presents itself as a celebration of the 19th century businessman who helped invent the very idea of "show business". Being historically accurate was the farthest thing from the filmmakers' minds. The talent of the production team and the entire ensemble comes through with every musical sequence. If you need a movie to see this holiday season outside of superheroes and Christmas films, let this be the one.
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