The Greatest Showman is this year’s best movie, especially for the dreamers and creatives who long to run away and join the circus.

The opening scene floods your senses with bright colours, amazing cinematography, music you can’t help but dance to, and a setting that fills you with awe and wonder.

While it is a massive fluffy, feel-good film, I was disheartened by one aspect. I wanted the story to go deeper. It touches lightly on some pretty heavy stuff – the threat of infidelity and the impact it can have on an entire family, the complications of an interracial relationship in the mid 1800’s, and how a community of misfits find self love and acceptance.

The themes were powerful and yet, I do think they could have been done with more depth. In each case they are glossed over, which really shouldn’t surprise me because I’ve heard in real life P.T. Barnum was a bit of a tool and jerk. Which is perhaps the one question I have for the filmmakers. Isn’t there an amazing creative who left a better legacy who we could have used instead of Barnum?

THE GREATEST MUSIC

Not everyone likes or enjoys musicals, but I think where others may not like classics like Singing in the Rain or Les Mis, they will like The Greatest Showman. The music in this film is different from others. It’s got a bit of a pop sound to it, which makes it perfect for everyone.

It was a smart move because you never hear songs from a musical on the radio, but you will and we are hearing the music from The Greatest Showman on the radio.

The music will have you singing along, or bouncing in your chair, wishing you were part of the ensemble of characters dancing on the screen.

THE GREATEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

When the first trailers dropped for The Greatest Showman I wasn’t interested in watching the film. It looked cute but not anything I wanted to see in cinema.

Then a friend showed me the lyric video for This Is Me and I changed my mind. This song in particular is one of my favs and I’m sure it’ll be yours too. There’s a part near the end, where all the dancing has been slowed down, while one central character continues at normal speed, until a particular beat of the song, when it all speeds up again. It’s a beautiful combination of great cinematography and CGI.

What I loved most was how the camera followed the characters during each song. In every song sequence the camera becomes part of the dance.

During the The Other Side, the camera sweeps between the characters. It starts on Hugh Jackman then sweeps over to the barman who slides a bottle of whiskey back to Jackman. The camera action is quick, but had to be timed perfectly with the beat of the song.

THE GREATEST THEMES

Perhaps the best reason to go see this powerful film is for the great themes hidden between the songs and storyline.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to see it, but the story is full of great moments that left me wanting to be a better person.

As someone who loves several aspects of the creative life, I found myself at home after watching the film, looking up dance classes. It’s something I love, but it’s fallen to the background because of my busy life as a filmmaker.

Watching the song A Million Dreams made me remember if dancing is something I want in my life, I can’t let things hold me back from doing it.

But there were other themes too which I think will speak louder when you’ve seen the film. Themes of community, of belonging, of commitment which I’ve never seen done so beautifully or with such passion, making the viewer want to become a hero in these areas of life.

Still. I loved it and I think you will too.

While The Greatest Showman is full of fluffy greatness I hope it’ll leaves you with weighty dreams and innovative ideas for your future as a creative.

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  • Charis Joy Jackson

    Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

    Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time is writing a novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson

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