The Greatest Showman: Film Review – Ain’t No Business Like Show Business

Verdict: An extraordinary story made even better with splendiferous performances.

There’s a constant debate on what the audience wants to see and what the audience should see. As of now, the consumer is king and the media we expose ourselves to caters to our desires. However, this is also the reason for some of the highest grossing films being the ones with the worst content. As long as it contains commercial value, we are consuming it mindlessly. This debate started centuries ago, when P. T. Barnum opened the first Cirque du Freak. By employing people with special talents and physical deformities, he became the rage of the town and his popularity only grew over time. The Greatest Showman – a musical drama directed by Michael Gracey – chronicles his controversial life with the razzmatazz of music and dance.

What Is The Greatest Showman About:

Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman), the son of a poor tailor, gets married to his childhood sweetheart, Charity Hallett (Michelle Williams), a daughter to wealthy parents. They live a humble but happy life with their daughters Helen and Caroline. Losing his job in a shipping company drives the overtly imaginative Barnum to do what it takes to give his family the comfortable life he had always promised them. After fooling a bank into giving him a large loan, Barnum purchases a wax museum, which he later turns into a circus. The circus is unlike any other form of entertainment in the 19th century, as it employs the physically deformed, racial minorities, and everyone who doesn’t fit into the society’s understanding of ‘normal’. The circus’ popularity invites a lot of protests against Barnum, and only his partnership with the wealthy Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron) keeps it barely afloat. But Barnum has big plans and his ambitions get the better of him. The film explores how he loses it all and wins back the trust of people who really matter.

The Greatest Showman film still - BookMyShow

What Works:

For a musical, its score is probably the most important element of the movie. The Greatest Showman gets its music right, with a number of well-performed pieces. The song that stays with you till the very end is This is Me, which has also been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song – Motion Picture. While it is up against the likes of Remember Me from Coco and Home from Ferdinand, we shall be rooting for this one.

Hugh Jackman is the most important character in the movie and plays his part flawlessly. Anyone who thinks dancing is a feminine art has definitely not seen this man dance. He brings in an element of masculine grace that captures your attention right from the start. All eyes are on him throughout the film, and even as his character turns despicable, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty of this actor. He has managed to break out of the mold of being defined by his greatest character (Wolverine) and this movie just pays testament to his versatility. Other performances were decent too, but take the backseat when compared to Jackman.  

What Could’ve Been Better:

An extraordinary story must have a great script, but The Greatest Showman falters in this department. The movie was highly predictable and the dialogues seemed superficial in many places. This is not a cause for concern as the film has a magical element that keeps you focused on the razzle dazzle to pay any attention to the technical elements.

Why You Should Watch This Movie:

If Hugh Jackman is not reason enough for you to book tickets, you might want to catch this musical for its splendiferous performances. The Greatest Showman lives up to its name, providing two hours of sheer entertainment. 

Release Date: 2017-12-29
Language: English
Director: Michael Gracey
Genre: Drama, Musical
Cast & Crew: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron
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