So this again another late review in regards to the release date of what i’m reviewing. I could hit you with a barge load of excuses and you can’t swim through but really its down to my own laziness. Anyway, TGS is a musical from long ago actually based on the real life events of the life of a Mr. P.T. Barnum and the first ever circus (at least how we have come to know them today, minus new animal rights and fair treatment of staff, better pay etc…) in America which Michael Gracey has turned into a film. Here is how i think it went.
The one good thing about late reviews is that spoiler alerts aren’t that necessary but just in case, there are a few spoilers to follow.
First of, TGS is a very open, family friendly movie. There is the aspect of racism of the time touched on, the bias of the class system and of course snooty in laws but it’s all dealt with in small and simple ways. Not understated, just enough for the flavor. Meaning the main plot can be left to be filled with truly wonderful songs, dance sequences and movie magic.
The sub plot is another love story only this one is written for the stars. Zac Efron and Zendaya act out as a great couple trying to come to grips with being an interracial couple in this time whilst running and preforming in a controversial circus, and i have to say Mr. Efron has really matured from his Troy Bolton days into these more complex, mature and emotional roles. Can’t say it’s been easy for him what with Charlie St. Cloud and The Lucky Ones being good gambles on his part for evolutionary roles for his career not taking off and having to rely on his youth, comedic value and sex appeal (17 Again, Dirty Grandpa and (Bad) Neighbors 2) I think going back to his grass roots of a musical movie but as a completely different character has given him an opportunity for growth. I expect to see more of him in further major roles in the future.
At the other end of the acting scale the massively successful Hugh Jackman has finally announced he’s hanging up his claws and after Les Mis this is his second musical movie production he’s been in so are we seeing a new direction for Hugh Jackman? If so i can’t i say i mind, he’s bloody brilliant!
Now, back to TGS and onto the most talked about points of the film. I say that but really this point isn’t even about the film really and that’s people saying this movie doesn’t accurately represent the real life events of P.T. Barnum’s circus. People have been pointing out after this was released P.T. Barnum’s actual look:
By unattributed – Harvard Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47588191
Not as dishy as Hugh… and how he took advantage of disabled people to make money. How he put people commonly called freaks on a stage for the world to see as long as they paid for a ticket. Further more, in contrary to his screen persona in TGS, his cruelty to animals. He is famous for saying Elephants can’t feel pain because they’re so big.
For the real life Barnum you have to remember this was a long time ago when laws, society’s standards and understanding of things was far less in all senses of the word than what we have today, not to say that any of his actions are therefore admissible. Atrocious as he was there was two sides to him and the part shown on screen was the, well, first showman. He really did value the happiness of others as a grand thing and strives to do everything within his power to entertain. Though even this is in shade because he never did so at cost, always trying to turn a profit.
The fact is this movie uses artistic licence to tell his story in an entertaining way cherry picking the best bits of Barnum’s personality for screen. The question bought about by all of this is that if the only problem you have with a movie isn’t even about what you see on screen or in the way it was filmed, or in the why, then… do you really have a problem with it at all?
Looking at the movie, i can find nothing wrong with it. Honestly, the acting is good to amazing, dialogue is flowing and engaging. The musical numbers are so good, so good, that they deserve a review all their own (Coming soon…) and the movie looks STUNNING! If you didn’t watch it in the cinema then i’m sorry, genuinely because once i saw it there i knew nothing would compare.
I personally felt uplifted by this movie. It has even inspired me to start looking into starting my own business, that’s how much of an impact it’s had on me. All so everyone I’ve asked has either loved it or loved it. The only problem on reading other reviews and the reddits on it that people seem to have is the grumble about it not being historically accurate. The truth is guys and gals if it was it would either be a documentary or a terrible movie, but no modern audience would connect with that. Yes, it’s a lie of sorts but it’s a beautiful and understandable lie.
I watch movies to escape reality. Why do you watch them if you have a problem with this? What are you watching them for if not to be entertained?
“The noblest art is that of making others happy” – P.T. Barnum
That Other Guy