A musical about P. T. Barnum’s life.
I had seen posters for this, but didn’t know what it was about. Then I was talking to C-Dub, who said, Awesome musical with Hugh Jackman, loved it!
Hmmm, I thought, high praise indeed if C-Dub was so pleased with it…and I put it on my mental list of That Which Should Be Watched. Which, of course, is an IMMENSELY long list, off of which many things fall without my noticing, my mental being what it is.
Then, wonder of wonders, I suddenly had a free day in my schedule, and decided to spend most of it at my local ‘plex, and see three movies. Of which this was the third.
And I am happy to say that once again, C-Dub was right. This was an awesome movie.
Firstly, Hugh Jackman in a good musical.
Secondly, colors and lights and songs and dances. The songs were modern pop-style songs, but not bad, certainly fun to listen to even if I didn’t leave the theater remembering any of the tunes. The costumes are what you’d expect of a musical about the beginnings of the circus, and were great.
Now, there’s a lot of furor on the interwebs because in the movie Barnum is portrayed as basically a nice guy with a vision, maybe a wheeler-dealer, but a decent guy. In real life, Barnum was a slaveowner and pretty much did anything he could to make money, including funding minstrel shows and the like. Not really a nice man.
But you know what? this is a MOVIE. It’s not real life, nor is it presented as the truth about Barnum; in fact, it plays fast and loose with both the timeline and events of Barnum’s life. It’s a MUSICAL, guys, and NOBODY expects musicals to be historically accurate.
But thirdly, and most importantly, this version of Barnum is not only an appealing person, he is a friend to, and his show is a haven for, people who are outcasts and who are looked down on because they’re different- the circus performers and attractions. They bond and become confidant and strong together, and that is a very happy message, both in this movie and in life as it is today.
This was really fun to watch, and I left the theater smiling. You will too.