This movie is LOOSELY based on the life of P.T. Barnum.
It shows an impoverished Barnum as a child infatuated with his future wife Charity. Through song, the story follows their courtship, eventual marriage, family as well as his ambitions and dreams to become not only famous but to be accepted by the society that initially shunned him.
He tries his hand at organizing a troupe of mostly unique individuals, scorned by society and their families. (Bearded lady, a dwarf named Tom Thumb, tattoo man, and others.) He does this in order to entertain.
He partners up with playwright Phillip Carlisle (Zac Efron) in order to legitimize his new type of entertainment (the Americanized circus) with the elite.
During the movie they find their group entertaining in England and the likes of Queen Victoria. While there he meets Jenney Lind, a famous singer of the day. He convinces her to go on the road with him, without his usual group or family. After it is obvious that Jenny has feelings for Barnum, he leaves for home to reunite with his family and circus.
During Barnum’s absence, Philip Carlisle falls for the beautiful trapeze artist (Zendaya). He continues to try to be the ring leader until Barnum returns but he is met with an increasingly hostile audience.
The music was beyond phenomenal!!! The music includes themes of acceptance, tolerance, humility, and love for family.
With movies like this, I try and research the actual facts of the characters involved. It was, trust me LOOSELY based on Barnum’s life but interestingly enough, there were plenty of accuracies as well! The movie is entertaining for the whole family. The story had racial undertones (i.e.: relationship between the black trapeze artists and others) as well as learning acceptance of those who are different. The characters, within the troupe, also learn to be more confident and self accepting throughout movie.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya
Directed by: Michael Gracey
Review by Julie C.