THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
* * *
(Movie musical about P.T. Barnum)
If you like movie musicals, this story about how P.T. Barnum got his start is pleasant and entertaining. Hugh Jackman is good as Barnum, adding a pleasant singing voice to his performance.
We follow him through his early struggles as the poor orphan boy woos the rich girl and does everything in his power to succeed and rub it in the face of his pompous father-in-law. Barnum starts with a museum of oddities, convincing "freaks" to be proud of who they are and not be afraid to show themselves to audiences who will pay to see them. His living museum includes the famous Tom Thumb, a bearded lady, Dog Boy, and a "negro" trapeze act.
He recruits a partner (Zac Efron), who falls in love with the trapeze artist (Zendaya) at a time when races did not mix. Love overcomes all, and Barnum's determination leads him to success in spite of the press and a segment of the population that rejects his circus. Barnum gets sidetracked for a while when he promotes the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind, but fights off her flirtations and remains faithful to his wife and children.
When his performance hall burns down, Barnum, out of money, gets the now popular idea to rent a piece of land and set up a circus tent. And they all live happily ever after.