The Greatest Showman: Movie Review


Justin Peters, Student Journalist

“The Greatest Showman” (TGS),  is far from the greatest. It’s not a bad film but, it’s not good either. My expectations were set way too high before viewing the movie.

TGS is the musical-biography of one of the forefronters of the modern circus, P.T. Barnum. Born into a life of poverty, Barnum (Hugh Jackman) grows up to marry a rich girl named Charity (Michelle Williams) and have two kids. The four literally live on a roof and Barnum gets the idea to open a museum of oddities (random wax statues). When the museum fails, Barnum goes to look for freaks, finds them and makes them preform for the wealthy. That does not sound like the hero I want to root for.

There are too many historical inaccuracies than can be put in this review however the article does a good job explaining them. The inaccuracies were one of TGS’s major problems.

Like any movie, there are a lot of things I liked. The visuals are great. I had a great time looking at the movie but that became an issue. It looks great but does not feel great. The story is dull because I know a lot about P.T. Barnum. One of the reasons why the movie is hard to sit through is because Barnum’s actual life was kind of depressing. They treat him like he’s a likeable hero and he’s not, in his actual life he imprisoned animals and made people struggling to fit in become his profit. If this was a musical like “Sweeney Todd” or “Carrie,” then it would be super interesting, it would be a dark musical. The movie is too happy and it weakens the plot.

While the plot is weak, TGS contains great performances. Most of the of the performances of Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and others were amazing. Really, the star of the movie is Keala Settle, who plays Lettie Lutz (the Bearded Lady). She is phenomenal and sang the best song in the movie, “This Is Me.” What saves the movie, is the songs. The songs are some of the best movie songs I’ve ever heard, especially “This Is Me.” If kids started singing that song instead of “Let It Go,” I’d sing along with them.

The number one issue with this movie is the hype it received. I have not seen hype this bad since “La La Land,” but “La La Land” was amazing and TGS is not. It feels like they wrote the songs first and then wrote the movie around the music. Despite the music, TGS is a bland mess of solid visuals.

Grade: C