(2017) (Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron) (PG)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Musical: A man from humble beginnings finds his calling and great success in showmanship regarding his circus of oddities.
- P.T. Barnum (HUGH JACKMAN) is a 19th century man who grew up dirt poor and ended up as a street urchin, but still managed to draw the interest of Charity (MICHELLE WILLIAMS) who grew up in a wealthy family. When she leaves to marry P.T. and raise a family, her snooty father is sure she'll be back soon. And when the business P.T. works for closes for good due to many of its ships ending at the bottom of the sea -- leaving P.T., Charity and their two young daughters with little to no money - it seems her father's prediction might prove true.
But P.T. decides to gamble on their future by taking out a $10,000 loan -- using the now worthless notes from some of those aforementioned ships as collateral -- and buying an old museum of oddities. Despite the family hustling to sell tickets, they get few attendees. It's when one of the daughters states they need something living and sensational in the museum that the light bulb goes off in P.T.'s head. Having already seen diminutive 22-year-old Charles Stratton (SAM HUMPHREY), P.T. convinces him to be the first member of his new attraction of human oddities and circus performers.
That leads to a wide variety of people joining his act ranging from Lettie Lutz, a.k.a. The Bearded Woman (KEALA SETTLE), to trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (ZENDAYA). The latter draws the interest of Phillip Carlyle (ZAC EFRON), a playwright who's well-connected in the inner circle of the rich. That's an audience that P.T. covets above and beyond the everyday common folk who've made his act a big hit, although newspaper critic James Gordon Bennett (PAUL SPARKS) looks down on the offerings.
Word of P.T.'s success eventually leads to international acclaim, and it's when he, Phillip and the rest go to visit young Queen Victoria that P.T. meets legendary European opera singer Jenny Lind (REBECCA FERGUSON). Now a master at promotion, P.T. convinces her that he can make her a star in the U.S. and worldwide, and the two set off on a concert tour. From that point on, Phillip and the rest of the performers begin to sense that P.T.'s enthusiasm for them has now taken a backseat to his more lofty aspirations, while Charity ends up stuck at home raising their two kids by herself.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- If they're into movie musicals and/or are fans of anyone in the cast they might be interested.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
- For thematic elements including a brawl.
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