The Greatest Showman Underscores Dreams and Imagination
In a world drowning in depressing news and crushed dreams, I think we all need a little bit of The Greatest Showman.
Starring the amazing Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, this musical follows the story of Barnum’s rise from rags to riches. However, it offers so much more than a one-time hope for gaining wealth. At the end of it, it’s about family and priorities. It’s about love and what matters most.
Clearly, in recent months, there has been some backlash against the movie, claiming it fantasizes too much and makes Barnum into a hero. Admittedly, if you do some research on P.T. Barnum, he was more of a businessman than a family man and advocate. There are certainly some not-so-rosy moments in his past, which the move doesn’t address. You can find out more about what is real in the movie and what isn’t here.
However, if you are willing to understand the movie is based on P.T. Barnum and that it takes creative liberties, there is something inspiring to be found within the couple of hours of singing and dancing.
Let me say I’m not usually a musical kind of person. Sometimes I find it annoying when every characters breaks into song in every scene. I often find the music pretentiously cheesy and not quite something I’d want to pop into the stereo system in my car. The Greatest Showman is different. The music isn’t overdone--songs appear in the movie at exactly the right moment to be musical enough but not over the top. Furthermore, the music is amazing. I’ve been literally humming the songs all week long. The lyrics are beautiful and catchy. I actually bought the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman because movie or not, they’re songs I would listen to regardless.
The storyline itself is also inspiring. The rags to riches trope has been done before, but in this sense, the movie goes a step farther. What happens when you reach the riches from the rags? How does this impact your psyche, your relationships? Like the one song in the movie, “Never Enough,” how do you know when it’s time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve created? This is something Barnum struggles with in the movie, to his peril. It’s something I think so many of us struggle with in a world that values more, more, more. I loved that reminder.
Visually, the movie is stunning. Just stunning. The colors, the dancing, the choreography--it’s simply a pretty movie to watch. Every shot, every camera angle is masterfully done to make the most out of every single moment. There isn’t a single scene in the movie that is boring to look at, which I appreciated it. Thinking about the time that went into the behind-the scenes, which is recognized with an opening by the director and Jackman at the beginning, adds another layer to this movie masterpiece.
The acting was also a five out of five star job. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Zac Efron; the crush has been reignited. I loved his portrayal of his character, a wealthy man who gives it all up for Barnum’s crazy vision, only to find something even more important: love. The scene with the song “Rewrite the Stars” is by far the most poignant of the film, and a large part of this is because of Efron’s charm and charisma. Jackman also delivers a stellar performance, playing the sometimes selfish and always charming Barnum. His relationships with the other characters in the movie came through vividly. Even though he makes many mistakes in the movie, he has redeeming qualities that allow audiences to fall in love with the character.
There are certainly flaws in the fact this movie perhaps portrays Barnum as a hero when he did things that were not heroic or admirable in real life. However, at the end of the day, the musical wasn’t intended to be a day-by-day biographical account of the man. It was meant to take the culture of the time period and the origins of the circus and bring it to life. It was meant to inspire us to chase our dreams and to find happiness at all costs, no matter who we are.
Most of all, whether Barnum intended to or not, he reminds us all that everyone has a place on the stage and that we have the choice to make that stage for ourselves if the world won’t give it to us. He reminds us that no matter where you come from, you can find your place to shine. You can bring those wildest dreams to life.
So 100% true or not, I think this film underscores a human truth many of us have forgotten and need to hear again.
Have you seen The Greatest Showman? What did you think? Find out more information on their Facebook or go see it today.
Beauty and the Beast 2017 Review
As a child, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite movie. I loved Beauty's gorgeous, princess-like dresses. I loved the talking candlestick and Chip. I loved the magic of the "Be Our Guest" Scene. I loved the final scene, when a kiss turned the Beast into a Prince.
Perhaps Beauty and the Beast set me up to be both a hopeless romantic and a romance writer.
When I found out the movie was being redone as a live-action movie and Emma Watson would be playing Beauty, I squealed like the five-year-old I still act like. I've been counting down the days until release since I first saw the trailer. Quite simply, I was entranced before even entering the theater.
The movie did not disappoint. Emma Watson played her part beautifully. From her acting to her voice, she did Belle justice. The dresses were just as gorgeous as I could hope. Plus, she captured the defiant yet caring sides of Belle and really enhanced the role.
The Beast was more frightening in appearance than the one from my childhood, but it also worked well. The personalities of all of the other characters were maintained. I love that they came to life, although I do think Lumiere was cuter as a cartoon than in this movie.
My favorite scene was the "Be Our Guest" song, which literally gave me chills. It was my favorite as a child, so to see it in 3-D was magical. To think about what my five-year-old self would have thought of this scene literally coming to life is a beautiful thought. It was stunning and fun, just like I'd always imagined it to be.
The "Tale as Old as Time" scene was also breathtaking. The dance scene was gorgeous, and I couldn't take my eyes away.
My only complaint is I wish the movie could have been longer. I would have loved to see extra scenes between Beauty and the Beast to build their love story. However, this movie did a great job at sticking to the original while adding some extra information about both characters' backgrounds. I adored this movie and cannot wait to buy it. If you liked the original, you should definitely see this one.
5 out of 5 stars.
After reading Ransom Riggs' amazing debut novel this summer, I was thrilled to go see the movie adaptation. With my 3-D glasses and super sized soda, I was ready for some thrills, some magical moments, and the depth I got from the book.
At the beginning, I was thrilled about the adaptation. While I gave the book a 4 out of 5 star because it moved too slowly at the beginning, the movie jumped right in. Some changes were made, but I was okay with them because I enjoyed getting to Miss Peregrine's Home sooner.
The first half of the movie was pure magic. I loved the actress who played Emma and thought she had good chemistry with Jake. I also loved Miss Peregrine's portrayal in the movie as it stuck to the book for the most part. Burton managed to give us the magic of the home while also showing some of the horrors, some of the negatives. It had a thoroughly creepy feel mixed with magic, a difficult feat to pull off.
The last portion of the movie, however, ruined everything for me. Suddenly there were strange, killing skeletons that were more cheesy than creepy. The suspense Burton had been building collapsed in a semi-goofy, odd scene that really lost the wonderful, creepy feel we had up until this point. I think Burton would have been better off to stick to Riggs' initial vision for the story line; although the book's ending was less dramatic perhaps than the version in the movie, I think it stayed true to the characters and the plot. The last twenty minutes of the movie made me want toss my terrible 3D glasses early and head out the door with my popcorn.
Typically, a movie has a hard time living up to my expectation after a book. I understand things have to be adapted, I do. If the ending hadn't become so oddly corny, I would have been okay with the other changes. However, I think whoever approved the ending of this movie lost sight of the initial mood and feel of both the book and movie.
Overall, I would rate the movie a 3 out of 5 star watch. If there is a sequel produced, I'm honestly not sure I'd be running to see it at this point.
When my husband first said we should see Tarzan, all I pictured was a weird monkey-like man swinging in the trees with that godawful yell. I said no.
Then I saw the trailer... and realized Alexander Skarsgard was Tarzan. I quickly amended my response. A fan of Tru Blood, I am also a fan of Alexander Skarsgard (and his crystal blue eyes and lovely rock-hard abs). That man could star in a movie about the DMV and I would go see it.
Alexander's good looks aside--or not--this movie was amazing! As an avid romance movie lover, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the love story in this movie. Jane and Tarzan's love was portrayed in such an "awe" worthy way. Their connection, their relationship, and the lengths Tarzan was willing to go to in order to save the woman he loved--beautiful. The love story was actually a central focus to the movie, which made me happy.
Alexander was also a perfect choice for Tarzan because of his brooding, serious nature in his works. His portrayal of Tarzan matched his portrayal of Eric Northman. He was serious, mysterious, brooding, and a bit intimidating. However, both characters have a serious soft spot for the women they love. Alexander does such a good job at playing the stoic man with a big heart.
I also loved the use of flashbacks. It kept the story on the conflict the directors focused on. This movie didn't just go over the Tarzan legend we all know; it seriously expanded upon the typical Tarzan focus, using flashbacks to fill in the gaps. The overall plot was exciting, and the fighting scenes kept my husband interested in the movie as well.
We saw it in 3D, which was just gorgeous. The landscapes, the action scenes, Alexander's abs in 3D... it was perfect ;)
In all seriousness, both my husband and I gave this a ten out of ten stars. It is truly the perfect couple's movie because it appeals to both genders. The directors did an amazing job at taking a legend we all know and making it something we can all love.
Did you see The Legend of Tarzan? What did you think?
My husband and I saw Me Before You this weekend based on the novel by Jojo Moyes. Below is something new we're trying... joint movie reviews.
Just to be clear... he didn't read the book. He hates chick flicks. So yeah. If you want the real deal, watch my clips. :)
Sequels never live up to the original. I know that, we all know that.
But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised that the sequel to the beloved My Big Fat Greek Wedding did, in fact, live up to the first.
The story picks up years later, when Toula has a high school age daughter. I love how at the beginning of the movie, Toula’s kind of returned to frump girl. Motherhood and life’s business have sort of shattered her dreams again. She even has to put back on the old glasses when hers break.
The movie covers a range of real-life issues: losing your identity as a mother, dealing with aging parents, keeping the spark alive in marriage, and letting go of those you love. I liked the depth in the theme and plot. There were a lot of “real” moments.
Of course, there was also the signature humor. There were a lot of scenes that made me laugh, even if they were sometimes predictable or cheesy. Just like the first movie, this one made me wish I was Greek and had a huge, crazy family like Tula.
This movie was a perfect balance of cute, funny, and dramatic. I really recommend this to women of any age, since there are characters every woman can relate to.
If you’re a fan of the first My Big Fat Greek wedding, definitely go see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. I also adore that the entire cast came back together for this, which really helped make it just as great as the first.