Film

The Greatest Showman (Film Review) – Fluffy, Surface-Level Fun

The Greatest Showman is a musical directed by Michael Gracey and written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon. The film stars Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman. The Greatest Showman is loosely based on the creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus by P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and focuses on the lives of its stars.

My Knowledge and Expectation of The Greatest Showman

To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of musicals. It is not my favourite genre of film. Consequently, I was not hugely excited to see The Greatest Showman. Still, I thought that The Greatest Showman had a great cast which did peak my interest slightly. I really liked Zendaya in Spider-Man: Homecoming and hoped that this film would be another great role for her. While I have not seen Rebecca Ferguson in a film since Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, I thought she was outstanding in that film so I was looking forward to seeing her again in The Greatest Showman.

I loved Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea so I was confident she would bring her best. In regards to Zac Efron, I believe he gets a bit of a hard time from film fans. While some of the projects he chooses are not the best, he has proved himself to be a capable actor. This was evident to me with his work in the Bad Neighbours franchise. I was rooting for him to deliver a good performance in The Greatest Showman. Clearly, Hugh Jackman has proven himself to be an awesome lead actor with his work in the X-Men franchise. Certainly, his performance in Logan was fantastic and he was great in films such as The Prestige and Prisoners.

Hugh Jackman as P. T. Barnum and Michelle Williams as Charity Burnam in The Greatest Showman

With his background in theatre, it seems like The Greatest Showman was made for Hugh Jackman. The cast was what got me excited to see the film. At the very least, I hoped I would be entertained but I was not expecting a great film. Indeed, I have never regarded a musical as a great film (Yes, that includes La La Land). I did not expect that to change with The Greatest Showman.

My Thoughts on The Greatest Showman

I enjoyed The Greatest Showman. Is it a great film? No, far from it. Still, you can have a fun time with this film. This is especially the case when it comes to the songs. Make no mistake, the songs in The Greatest Showman are superb. This is where the film really shines. ‘A Million Dreams’, ‘Never Enough’, ‘This Is Me’, ‘Rewrite the Stars’ and ‘From Now On’ are absolutely fantastic songs. In fact, all the songs in The Greatest Showman are really catchy. After the film ends, the first thing you will want to do is listen to the soundtrack.

Within the film itself, I also thought that the dancing which accompanied the songs was well choreographed. Certainly, the songs and choreography are amongst the strongest elements of The Greatest Showman. The performance of Hugh Jackman is another. He is electric in the lead role and proves how great he is as a pure performer. In fact, he kind of overshadows everyone else in the film. Of course, the rest of the cast were good as I expected them to be. Still, The Greatest Showman is Hugh Jackman’s film and he makes the most of his role. He works well off his co-stars yet, at the same time, he steals the film from them.

Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle and Hugh Jackman as P. T. Barnum in a Bar in The Greatest Showman

I also thought that the production value in The Greatest Showman was very impressive. The film certainly feels like it belongs on the stage. The production value also elevates the musical numbers in the film which are great spectacles. The Greatest Showman also has very meaningful messages in it such as acceptance, being yourself and inclusiveness. Clearly, this is most evident in songs such as ‘This Is Me’ as well as ‘From Now On’.

The Story of The Greatest Showman

However, herein lies the biggest flaw of The Greatest Showman; its story. More specifically, it is how the themes in the film, showcased in its songs, try to make up for a surface-level story. Depth is lacking in the story. I wish that the story of the film was fleshed out more effectively when the songs were not happening. I do not believe that the editing of The Greatest Showman helped in that regard. To me, it felt like the film was rushing to get from one song to the next. Because of this, The Greatest Showman failed to provide enough substance in between the songs.

This weakened the quality of the film. Consequently, I have a greater desire to listen to my favourite songs in The Greatest Showman rather than watch the film itself again. Still, you should absolutely watch The Greatest Showman. If nothing else, you will be entertained by a light-hearted, feel-good musical that has great songs, good messages and an electric lead performance by Hugh Jackman.

Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle and Zendaya as Anne Wheeler in The Greatest Showman

I wish I loved The Greatest Showman more. Still, musicals have never been my genre of film. If you love musicals, you will probably get a lot of enjoyment out of The Greatest Showman. Moreover, at the same time, you may be inspired by its positive themes. I hope this happens for you because we all need inspiration at some stage in our lives.

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6 replies »

  1. I do love the Greatest Showman. Me being a musical theatre fanatic, I tend to judge the songs first, and then the characters and plot. If I love the songs, I always seem to love the musicals. Its songs are so addicting and I can’t stop listening to them.

    Liked by 1 person

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