I have a few sensory triggers that transport me away to another time. One of my favourites is the smell of onions frying in butter, whenever I smell that I am instantly in my nan's kitchen eagerly awaiting a round of freshly made pierogi. I can literally see my nana in her apron and headscarf working away at the stove, her hands moving swiftly in my minds eye as she rushes to fill our stomachs; it is such a happy memory for me. It reminds me of my preschool days that I spent with my loving grandparents in Ardeer. Quiet and uncomplicated days that were filled with gardening, collecting eggs, stealing strawberries, big kisses and hugs, neighbourhood visits, Days of Our Lives and extraordinarily great Ukrainian food.
I am instantly returned to my pre-teens if I smell any kind of coconut suntanning lotion because my friends and I all used to lather ourselves in that stuff in pursuit of the perfect tan; a tan that I could never achieve but I did manage to turn myself into a blistered lobster on many occasions. The smell of that lotion does remind me of the many days spent lounging at the swimming pool with my friends as we awkwardly came of age. The innocent days that we spent laughing at oldies in budgie smugglers, ogling the older boys in boardies, navigating leg shaving and ways to look cute in modest one piece swimsuits whilst we indulged in too many dim sims, Samboy chips and Sunnyboys ice-blocks during what felt like the endless summers of my pre-teens.
Any Guns n' Roses or Def Leppard songs take me back to the handsy evenings of my teenage promiscuous years when I engaged in experimentations with boys, drugs and alcohol; any song from the Mama Said album by Lenny Kravitz or the Changes album by David Bowie reminds me of road tripping with Craig in our early 20's and any music from the bands The Crash Test Dummies, Live, Counting Crows, The Cranberries and Alanis Morissette reminds me of the years that Craig I were childless and would spend entire days lounging around together listening to music and talking. A time when everything seemed a lot simpler and we didn't really need anything because having each other was more than enough.
And some visual prompts can be so vivid for me as well. Like drop-tail lizards and daffodils which make me think of my time in Daylesford, Clint Eastwood, cigarette pouches and vintage car interiors which make me think of my dad, certain pink tones and roses in full bloom which make me think of my mum, and only around a million other things that make me think of all of the other people that I love.
Unfortunately, not all sensory recalls are great, like for me, the smell of camomile tea which always makes me remember feeling sick because mum would get me to drink it to settle my stomach and sometimes it would just make me spew. The smell of hospitals in general which conjures memories of seeing my grandparents dying in hospital beds. Strong indoor pool chlorine smells fill me with rigid fear because I can remember a time before I could swim in early primary school when a teacher made me get into the pool at the deep end and I almost drowned, ah schooling in the seventies, those were the days!
And then there are the joy filled randoms that most people probably have, like the smell of popcorn making me think of being in a movie theatre, fruit cakes making me think of Christmas, butterflies and four leaf clovers kick me back to lying in the grass with my pet dog Penny and the smell of hay which always makes me think of the circus. I could go on for hours really, I have a lot of sensory triggers, but I just love the power that they have to take me back, back to another time....I hope that I never lose that.
Release Date: 2017
Running Time: 105 mins
An old school musical that feels so much like a stage production that you will need to fight the urge to applaud after some of the musical numbers. Clearly inspired by previous musical extravaganzas like Moulin Rouge, director Michael Gracey exchanges the gothic and steampunk appeal of Luhrmann for something that is brighter, more polished and definitely more appealing to a wider audience, especially lovers of pop music, through The Greatest Showman.
From humble beginnings, ambitious showman P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) manages to find fame and fortune by developing his own unique style of entertainment that showcases the talents of freaks and outcasts.
I had a really good time watching this movie, it is undeniably entertaining and exceptionally well presented. Like most musicals, the storyline is thin, extremely thin in this case and also historically inaccurate with it's warm, fuzzy depiction of Barnum's freak show; however, if you can put that aside and just allow yourself to get lost in the glitz and glamour of it all then you should also enjoy the experience. There's a bit of everything going on, and loads of romance for those of you that are looking for a little love action, and aside of its historical flaws, the message being sent here about acceptance and inclusion is delivered well.
Hugh Jackman is dazzling as Barnum, Zac Efron shows why he can do musicals well as Phillip Carlyle, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Williams and Zendaya demonstrate new levels of onscreen beauty and Keala Settle who plays Lettie - The Bearded Lady absolutely steals the show with her incredible performance and singing prowess - shivers people - literally shivers for me.
FINAL SAY: No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.
3.5 Chilli Peppers