The Greatest Showman (Sing-Along) (PG)

Musical (2017)
105mins US

Starring: Zendaya, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson
Director: Michael Gracey
Writer(s): Bill Condon, Jenny Bicks
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

As a boy, lowly tailor's son PT Barnum falls head over heels in love with Charity Hallett, who comes from a wealthy family. Romance blossoms and PT asks for the hand in marriage of Charity, who doesn't care about her parents' riches. The couple raise two daughters, Caroline and Helen, and PT vows to provide for his family by establishing a museum of living curiosities including bearded lady Lettie Lutz, dwarf Charles Stratton and high-flying trapeze siblings WD and Anne Wheeler.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Greatest Showman (PG)

Roll up and rock out for director Michael Gracey's hyperkinetic, foot-stomping musical based on the topsy-turvy life of circus impresario and master of shameless self-promotion, Phineas Taylor Barnum. Razzle smooches dazzle in every breathlessly choreographed, crowd-pleasing frame of this rags-to-riches fairy tale set to a wickedly infectious score composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who pirouetted away with Oscars for La La Land. The duo should clear the mantelpiece for more golden statuettes because their songbook here is a barnstorming selection of earworms, from the rousing beat of curtain raiser "The Greatest Show" to the operatic cri de coeur of "Never Enough" and defiant battle cry of "This Is Me"...

The Greatest Showman. Copyright: 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Caption: Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum and Keala Settle as the bearded lady Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman, directed by Michael Gracey. Photo: Niko Tavernise. All Rights Reserved.Unquestionably, the script co-written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon is light on characterisation and polishes the morally questionable legacy of manipulator P.T. to a sanitised lustre. Style trumps meaty substance with lavish period detail and swagger. Somehow, despite manifold failings, Gracey's picture is a joy-infused, whoop-inducing blast of pure pleasure that calibrates every swoon of romance and doff of a top hat with masterful precision. Barnum once professed, "The noblest art is making others happy". The Greatest Showman does that with a flourish and I was gleefully and giddily suckered.

Tailor's son P.T. (Hugh Jackman) falls under the spell of Charity Hallett (Michelle Williams), who harks from privileged stock. "Sooner or later, she'll tire of your life, of having nothing," sneers her class-conscious father (Frederic Lehne). P.T. and Charity live modestly with two cherubic daughters (Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely) until daddy dearest blags a 10,000 dollar bank loan for a museum of living curiosities. The exhibits include bearded lady Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), dwarf Charles Stratton (Sam Humphrey) and high-flying trapeze siblings WD and Anne Wheeler (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Zendaya). Sardonic newspaper critic James Gordon Bennett (Paul Sparks) denounces the enterprise as "a primitive circus of humbug". The public disagrees, swarming to P.T.'s palace "of the offensive and indecent", which he expands with investment from rich kid Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron). Hungry for acceptance by the hoi polloi, P.T. abandons his position to mastermind the world tour of Swedish songbird Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson). His prolonged absence strains the Barnums' marriage just as protests against the circus reach fever pitch.

Like the film version of Mamma Mia!, The Greatest Showman plays to its splashy strengths, delivering pop-powered entertainment in its purest form. Jackman embraces his underwritten role with gusto, catalysing a sweet screen romance with Williams in between spectacularly staged musical sequences that frequently take the breath away. Efron and Zendaya take flight in their duet Rewrite The Stars, soaring almost as high as Gracey's picture, which logic dictates should come crashing down to earth. In a daredevil feat worthy of Barnum himself, the disparate elements defy gravity and endlessly delight.

- Jo Planter

The Greatest Showman. Copyright: 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Caption: Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum and Keala Settle as the bearded lady Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman, directed by Michael Gracey. Photo: Niko Tavernise. All Rights Reserved.

London Cinemas

From Friday 16th March
To Thursday 22nd March

- Odeon Kingston
- Olympic Studios
- Prince Charles Cinema
- Vue West End

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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 9th March
To Thursday 15th March

- Aberdare, The Coliseum Theatre
- Bath, Little Theatre Cinema Picturehouse
- Belfast, Movie House Cityside (Yorkgate)
- Birmingham, Empire Birmingham Great Park
- Birmingham, Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza
- Birmingham, The Electric Cinema
- Bishop's Stortford, Empire Bishop's Stortford
- Bradford, Picturehouse Bradford At The National Media Museum
- Bridgwater, Scott Cinemas
- Brighton, Duke Of York's Picturehouse
- Burnham-on-Sea, Ritz
- Cambridge, Arts Picturehouse
- Clydebank, Empire Clydebank
- Coleraine, Movie House Coleraine
- Douglas, Cinemaworld Douglas
- Dublin, IMC Santry
- Dublin, IMC Tallaght
- Dun Laoghaire, IMC Dun Laoghaire
- East Kilbride, Odeon East Kilbride
- Edinburgh, Cameo Picturehouse
- Exeter, Exeter Picturehouse
- Fakenham, Central Cinema Fakenham
- Frome, Westway
- Glasgow, Vue Glasgow Fort
- Glengormley, Movie House Glengormley
- Guildford, Odeon Guildford
- Hamilton, Vue Hamilton
- Henley-on-Thames, Regal Picturehouse
- Herne Bay, Kavanagh Cinema
- High Wycombe, Empire High Wycombe
- Hinckley, Cineworld Hinckley
- Ipswich, Empire Ipswich
- Liverpool, Picturehouse At FACT
- Louth, Playhouse
- Melton Mowbray, Regal Cinema
- Milton Keynes, Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium
- Newton Abbot, Alexandra Cinema
- Norwich, Cinema City Picturehouse
- Oxford, Phoenix Picturehouse
- Poole, Cineworld Poole
- Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield
- Sheffield, The Light Cinema, Sheffield
- Southampton, Cineworld Southampton
- Southampton, Harbour Lights Picturehouse
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Stowmarket, Regal Theatre
- Stratford-upon-Avon, Stratford Picturehouse
- Sunderland, Empire Sunderland
- Sutton Coldfield, Empire Sutton Coldfield
- Swindon, Empire Swindon Greenbridge
- Tewkesbury, The Roses Theatre
- Thornton-Cleveleys, Vue Cleveleys
- Uckfield, Picturehouse Uckfield
- Walthamstow, Empire Walthamstow
- Wigan, Empire Wigan
- York, City Screen Picturehouse

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