The Greatest Showman… also the greatest movie?

by Mrs. Smith on January 11, 2018

This isn’t a super-spoily-spoiler review, but if you like going into a movie not knowing what I think about, then skip this one ’til after you’ve seen The Greatest Showman.

I’m not going to write much about the plot, so you’re safe on that end. This review is mostly about the music.

Edit: Oops. Just kidding. Turns out I’ve got all kinds of opinions. 

When watching The Greatest Showman,

I kinda knew it was a musical going into it, but I didn’t know much more than that. Something about the La La Land writers doing this one, too? I didn’t see La La Land, so that meant nothing to me.

WOW.

I love using that word when it isn’t about surprise crazy high phone bills. How refreshing.

This movie was well-made, well-thought-out, just really, truly, thoroughly well done, start to finish. Script, soundtrack, cast, acting, story, sets, costumes, choreography, vocals… I can be sensitive and picky, but I have zero complaints other than maybe too much drinking going on. Personal preference.

There were no gaps in the plot, there were no spots that felt like things were dragging, there were some gripping “AHHHHHHHH!” moments that had me on the edge of my seat, and didn’t involve laser vision or light sabers, which was oddly refreshing. There was a deeply satisfying conclusion leaving you on a pretty high “conquer the world” vibe…

So on that end, everything checked out beautifully.

But the music.

Oh, it’s marvelous. Remember how Let it Go exploded and was suddenly something that everyone knew? The tune became an instant-favorite-song for millions. Why was that?

Because, IMO,
(a) it was well-written,
(b) it was freaking-well-performed,
(c) its core message was something that all of us could relate to at some point in our lives.

There are, get this, not one but probably 3 songs like that in this show. Maybe more. I lost count. They were all great.

This is Me is probably my favorite.

There are some fun “we live in the small town she grew up in” dynamics contributing to my fan-girling all over it, but even if she’d grown up in Arkansas, this would be an instant-favorite-song for me.

Why?
(a) SO well-written
(b) SO freaking-awesomely well-performed.
(c) Who can’t relate to this?????

Every one of us has scars we’re ashamed of. Every one of us has junk in our past (or present) that we don’t want seen. If you don’t, you were probably raised by wolves and go by Mowgli, because honestly, shame is part of being human. You can ignore it, bury it, or pretend it isn’t there, but it is.

So. Scars and bruises and hard knocks notwithstanding, there’s a place for us. There’s something inside that truly is glorious. At some point don’t we all feel the need to rise up and say,

I won’t let them break me down to dust,
cuz I know that there’s a place for us…

—- ? I mean, really, is that not a common experience, sooner or later, for everyone?

I was sitting in the theater during that one and it was surreal. There was such a tremendous feeling of power and light and truth resonating inside me, I had to kind of double-check my surroundings. Wait, am I really getting this kind of feeling from a movie that came from Fox Pictures? Whaaaaaat?

Definitely a weird, not-common experience for me.

The performer, Keala Settle, just blew this thing out of the water. Nailed it. Crushed it. Aced it.
No, more than that!

She freaking knocked it out of the park and into the next galaxy where it probably smashed some unsuspecting Imperial ship to kingdom come.

Bam.

So yeah. In the words of someone who wrote some comment on a thread about anticipating awards for this song specifically,

“I hope she wins all the things. All of them.”

 

 

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