Here at West Chester University we are fortunate enough to have a Student Activities Council (SAC) that puts together amazing events throughout the semester for all the West Chester community to enjoy. Their most popular events are the weekly movies they show on the first floor of Sykes Student Union. The movies play every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. They are only $2 cash for movies that are usually still in theaters. This is a great chance to get friends together and have some inexpensive fun.
The weekend of Feb. 23, SAC was showing a fairly new movie, “The Greatest Showman.” I saw the movie prior to that weekend but wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to see it again. Unfortunately, the theater had a malfunction on Friday when I planned on seeing it and the film was unable to play. Although disappointed, SAC was very accommodating and gave out a free movie pass to all who intended to come back, and I was able to see the movie Sunday night.
“The Greatest Showman,” which came out Dec. 8, currently has a 55 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Within five weekends of the film’s release, the box office made $113 million. The film has already won some awards and is assumed to win many more in the future. It is truly a movie for everyone; I can say so with confidence because both my mom and dad enjoyed it and stayed awake for the entire film!
This polished story of the real life of Phineas Taylor Barnum is illustrated as a musical. P.T. Barnum played a part in starting the Barnum American Museum that grew in popularity with its strange attractions, which, unlike the movie shows, he didn’t bring together in the most humane ways. The museum burned down in 1868, which encouraged the show to travel starting in 1871. Some acts that Barum had collected were the bearded lady and Jenny Lind, a singer, both of whom appeared in the film. However, in the movie, Barnum and Lind are shown to have a brief romantic relationship which is not known to be true in reality.
The goal of “The Greatest Showman,” besides to entertain, is to celebrate the creation of show business and the part P.T. Barnum played in this. The movie became popular quickly because of the cast. Hugh Jackman plays the role of P.T. Barnum alongside other big actors and actresses like Zac Efron, Zendaya Coleman, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and more talented people throughout the movie.
You may be thinking, “Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron in a musical together? Genius!” Emily Bright, a West Chester student who viewed the show Sunday night, agreed. Most of us grew up watching Zac Efron in “High School Musical.” Being teenagers, we were taken with him mostly because of his looks, not his performance. Looking back now, we may realize the lack of musical talent, especially compared to his performance during “The Greatest Showman,” his musical comeback.
Efron chose this as his comeback for a very inspiring reason other than for director Michael Gracey: he wanted to be a part of the message the movie gave off about interracial relationships. In the film, Efron and Coleman’s characters develop a relationship and, as Efron told CNN, “That was one of the most important things to get across with this role and one of the most profoundly important things that Zendaya and I wanted to both get across and felt capable of in this part.” The passion he feels for this message is most certainly shown in his performance throughout the movie.
Whether you are a musical fan or just want to see Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman sing together, I highly recommend this movie. It is a musical that even non-musical lovers can enjoy. Also, don’t miss the upcoming movies in Sykes. After break, they plan to show “Proud Mary” and “Pitch Perfect 3” (movies subject to change).
Amanda Hearn is a first-year student majoring in psychology. ✉ AH888217@wcupa.edu.