THE BASIC GIST
A glamorous musical (very loosely) based around the life and times of P.T. Barnum and the development of his freak show-turned-mainstream touring circus.
- While overplayed, a phenomenal soundtrack loaded with cracker after cracker; Other Side the undisputed highlight, personally trumping This Is Me.
- Rebecca Ferguson’s goosebump-level vocal performance in Never Be Enough
- Through-the-roof production values, with a huge size and scale, cool sets and lots of colour, brought to life by marvellous, flowing cinematography
- Impressively slick dance sequences
- A consistent on-the-go pace leaves little room for dull moments
- While the acting is overall solid, the characters are generic and for the most part totally forgettable
- Not exactly historically accurate. P.T. Barnum was less an inspiring, generous gentleman and more a big meanie in reality…
- The plot is a standard one with heaps of cliches thrown in and such an obvious predictability that it’s easy to quickly figure out what’s going to happen.
A hell of a mixed bag here. It’s clear a tonne of effort and passion was put behind it, and the final results speak for themselves through the visuals and the music, but it’s dragged down by a meh cast of characters and a bluntly by-the-numbers story.
At the end of the day, it’s glorious style over average substance. Admirable eye and ear candy, but not much else.
“Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.”