By Badrinarayan V
A captivating story of Phineas Taylor Barnum , the American entrepreneur of the early 1800’s whose audacious ventures in NYK’s drab & snooty entertainment & arts scene set the early tone for today’s razz & pomp industry especially what we as school children then happy called “Going to a Circus”.
Son of a widowed tailor with a struggling livelihood, Barnum right from boyhood dares to dream of a bigger world. His early years friendship with the aristocratic Charity Hallett (Michelle Williams) blossoms over years to long distance letters, marriage & then parents of beautiful twin daughters whom he dreams of showering a lifestyle & social status that he lacked. His perennial ambitions, growing frustrations as a commoner & coincidental twist of events conspire to turn him from a desk shipping clerk to an opportunist . Casting aside his family’s content for simple pleasures of life , Barnum then at every step & turn proceeds to maximise his showmanship skills further taking greater financial risks to first set up his Barnum Museum & later his controversial but acclaimed circus that is cast with varied personalities each possessing a unique skill that splendidly regale the NYK audience. The movie continues to weave its magic as Direction, Settings & Script never let you down a moment. Despite multiple misfortune & failures that suddenly fall upon Barnum; he shows resolute steel to rebuild himself, his defunct circus, his love for his dear family & reconnect with his darling crew. Their reverence of him for the early faith & trust he showed on them as nobodies sweep aside pangs of selfish motives or social greed that Barnum once lusted upon.
This is a GRAND ( & I say with a capital G) movie singing musical. Tenor Jenny Blind’s (Rebecca Ferguson) American opera debut with “Never Enough“ is a hushed gasp winner in any theatre. Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum stands majestic , towering over the character the script demands. The entire cast provides a perfect violin & bow to its lead singer including the vibrant dances that energise you. So Praise be the Lord to 20th Century Fox for a near perfect year end release… & as one of Barnum’s real life quotes states “ The Noblest art is that of making others happy” .. I still try to do that as we enter 2018. This has to be a 5/5 for me !!!!