With wife Charity (Michelle Williams) and two young children to support, the unemployed P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) has nowhere to go but up. Using his vivid imagination and energetic enthusiasm, Barnum's persistence leads to the founding of the sideshow museum that would eventually become the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

This tuneful, joyful and emotional spectacle is filled with
razzle-dazzle and wonder. The impressive Hugh Jackman delivers his second striking performance of 2017 - the first was as "Logan". Here he sings, dances and displays a wide range of emotions as the visionary Barnum. Reported to have been Jackman's dream project for many years, Michael Gracey makes his big screen directing debut to bring this dream to life. The result is a magnificent blending of story and song that may be difficult to top in his future endeavors. The screenplay by Jenny Bicks, who also wrote the story, and Bill Condon, the famed director of "Dreamgirls" and this year's live-action "Beauty and the Beast", does a marvelous job of presenting history in a most entertaining fashion. There is certainly fiction mixed in with the facts. After being captivated for a couple of hours, I was driven to read up on the legendary entrepreneur and those who surrounded him. Any movie that can entertain and draw interest in a subject deserves to be revered. A group of talented supporting players helps the star in this achievement. Michelle Williams, as wife Charity, and Rebecca Ferguson, as renowned singer Jenny Lind, are the women closest to Barnum. Zac Efron is Phillip Carlyle, a wealthy playwright who partners with P.T., and Zendaya is Anne Wheeler, an acrobat and trapeze artist who catches Phillip's eye. As good as the cast is, the music is a huge attraction. The score by John Debney and Joseph Trapanese is pure Big Top. The memorable songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the team behind the lyrical "La La Land", are modern, foot-stomping masterpieces that fit nicely into the past circus setting. All of this film's elements combine to rouse the senses. "The Greatest Showman" takes center ring as one of the greatest shows on earth. (5 CAMS)

Rated PG (thematic elements including a brawl)
Running Time: 105 minutes

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