My mom and I saw this movie yesterday in the theater. And we loved it! Everything about it was great, the music, singing, dancing, and acting.
I especially loved it because I could relate to some of the characters. I know what it's like to be different, a misfit. It is not easy in a world that judges you based on how you look. They had a place here, a job, a home, a family, at a time where there were no social services for them, little health care, and belief that people like us did not have a right to live a life as fully as possible.
I even dreamed of running away to join the circus as a child to be a trapeze artist. I know that was terribly unrealistic, but I fantasized then that I was normal, and was famous for singing and dancing. I loved to perform. I loved being a part of something bigger that brought something beautiful to the world. Even in this what some would call an ugly little body. When I sang in the choir or danced on stage, I didn't feel ugly. I felt beautiful.
I know the critics don't like this movie. But movie goers do. And I am one of them that thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a feel good movie that is sorely needed in Hollywood.
I think critics don't like the same things we like is that they have no joy and want to share in their misery. We seek joy when we go to the movies, listen to music, or read a book. We want to be entertained. And the critics are jealous because these movies are successful and make a lot of money. Where the critics' favorites make little money, are not successful, and only win stupid awards.
About the animals, there were only elephants, the lions were computer generated. Maybe they were elephants rescued from the real Barnum and Bailey Ringling Brothers. Although I hate that there were wild animals in these circuses, they are now not there, and hopefully are back in the wild or a well run sanctuary. Since my niece is in the circus, I have heard that the circus has saved some from a worse life.. Some are immigrants from another country and were given an opportunity to come here for a better life, and they are grateful for that. So again, this is not a black and white issue, but one fraught with grey. I think if we open ourselves up to trying to understand others, we may learn something, and we may appreciate that which we didn't understand before.
So I highly recommend the movie. The music is so great I bought the soundtrack and am loving listening to it!