Hugh Jackman steps into the spotlight as 19thC impresario P.T. Barnum in this all-singing-all-doings rags to riches extravaganza.
2012’s Lez Miz was supposed to be the movie that showcased Jackman’s triple-treat talents as a singer, dancer and serious actor. It didn’t. Here debut director Michael Gracey deservedly hands him a better chance and this time around he smashes it out of the park.
Born the son of a poor cobbler, Phineas Taylor Barnum longs to rise and dazzle the world. Having conned his way to start a ‘museum’, he assembles the unfortunates and the bizarre of marginalised society, creating a showcase of oddities: a ‘Freak Show’ to break the ground for circus, sleight-of-hand and live derring-do.
But despite his flourishing success, he yearns to debunk arty critics. To get their attention and loosen the purse strings of high-art snob culture, Barnum risks it all, and his family…
Questions are raised over this sanitised telling of a rags to riches tale, but showbiz is showbiz and historical haziness aside, this is nothing short of spectacle and splendour. (research Chris Coetsee) Glorious big screen cinema trickery-pokery. You keep coming, so come here once more to lead into Christmas 2018.