- weak plot
- weak message
- strong delivery, good acting
- otherworldly costumes, set, and choreography
- felt all the feels
Within five seconds, I knew that I was going to love this movie. The start was so bold, fresh, and passionate. And knowing that Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the original soundtrack (oh lol they also wrote for La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen), it was a given that the soundtrack would be amazing. The first scene, which opens with “This is the Greatest Show,” set the bar very high. Imagine starting a movie with this kind of visual. That’s daring right there. And the rest of The Greatest Showman managed to live up to this scene.
“If nothing else good comes out of 2018, at least we have this movie,” I said the night after seeing The Greatest Showman. Of course it came out in 2017, not 2018, so you have to fact-check the things I say. 🙂 But I don’t retract my statement. This is a good, solid movie. If you’re a musical junkie like me, you’ll be willing to forgive its few faults. The choreography and soundtrack are energetic and passionate.
Overall, the best phrase to describe this movie is visually stunning. Like La La Land, the use of color is beautiful. I believe you could take a screenshot of any scene at all and set it as your phone wallpaper with no hesitation.
The best phrase to describe The Greatest Showman is “visually stunning.”
Let’s move past the stunning aesthetic. As far as the acting, directing and writing, this film scores 2/3. The acting is solid and Michael Gracey is a director to watch. However, the plot is lacking. It’s fast-paced and a little confusing, with several side-stories and weak characters. The only thing that makes up for these faults is the passionate performance by Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya (among many others, of course). Even though some of the characters are shallow, they’re made believable and sympathetic by the sheer passion these actors show. Hugh Jackman is obviously having the time of his life. So the strong delivery makes up for the sometimes-weak writing.
The strong delivery makes up for the sometimes-weak writing.
The message–acceptance–feels timely, but cliché. What other theme do you expect from a movie about a circus? This is the only part of the movie that feels a little unclear.
The character of P.T. Barnum is portrayed in this film as a sympathetic, accepting hero. In real life it’s a little more complicated. Historians are divided over whether he was a good guy or a bad guy. On one hand, he revolutionized the entertainment industry and brought delight to his audience; on the other, he was a con man and politician. This film is historically inaccurate in
several many places, but it’s a delightful work of historical fiction. The inaccuracies don’t bother me, because it’s understood that the tone is just a magical and jubilant interpretation that’s LOOSELY based on a true story.
Final takeaways? Go watch it in theaters. Pay the money. Listen to the soundtrack. Your eyes and ears are not likely to forget The Greatest Showman.
4.5 out of 5 stars!