Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum, and the movie is based (quite loosely) on his life. It begins in his childhood, the poor son of a tailor. He is in love with Charity, the daughter of a wealthy neighbor. Though he is sent away to school, he and Charity write letters to each other, and when he returns, she agrees to marry him and move to New York City. There, they barely scrape by and have two adorable little daughters, but Barnum has big dreams. He buys an old museum and tries to make it a success with wax figures and faked strange creatures. He finally gets the attention and success he craves when he changes it to a live show, peopled by those with unique talents, like trapeze artists, animal acts, and what was then known as freaks. In short, he created the first circus. He hires Phillip Carlyle, played by Zac Efron, as a second ringmaster, and their fame grows. Of course, things don't go smoothly for them, and the pair encounter plenty of challenges, including scorn and prejudice from some people.
The Greatest Showman is a musical, and one that the three of us enjoyed very much. It is filled with songs, dancing, and showmanship. It's best to approach this movie just as that - a colorful spectacle of fun. It is not a biopic of Barnum's life. According to the Wikipedia entry on Barnum, he was a bit more focused on money than on saving the forgotten people he hires, and there is no mention of a wife or children (and he was not nearly as handsome as Hugh Jackman!). It's best to go into this kind of film ready to be entertained - and we found it very, very entertaining. The music and dancing are all very well-done (who knew Jackman had so many talents?), and the brilliant colors and scenes of the show are joyful and fun, and heartwarming as well. Need a pick-me-up? We all left this movie with big smiles on our faces!
The Greatest Showman is still playing in some theaters - I highly recommend seeing this one on the big screen (check for recliner theaters near you!). Use the Fandango below or in the sidebar to find out where and when it is playing locally. It will be available for streaming on Amazon on March 20, 2018, and on DVD (available for pre-order now) sometime this spring.