Movie Review: The Greatest Showman We’ll Ever See on Screen
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
Patience was never my strong suit when I was younger, so the thought of watching a musical always made me grumble with impatience.
“Too much singing, not enough story,” I’d say, and I’d inwardly whinge for the rest of the movie.
I’m older now, and while I’ve gained more patience over the years, this aversion to musical still remains. Yet disgruntled distaste was not the reaction I gave when I first watched the “The Greatest Showman” trailer. Fact of the matter is, I was somewhat intrigued.
But did this ring true as well when I actually sat down to watch the movie?
What is it about?
Without spoiling the movie, one of the central themes of “The Greatest Showman” is its “rags to riches” storyline. Its main character is Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman), a man who rose from nothing. Born dirt poor, Phineas is not unfamiliar to the feeling of being so hungry that he’d have to steal for his own survival, or being so severely looked down upon due to its pitiful rank (the lowest) in society.
Yet through his own hard work, he managed to pull himself out of poverty and earned at least enough money to marry the woman of his dreams.
But then life decides to deal him a bad hand- one that essentially leads him to losing his job and only source of income.
The thing with being dealt a bad hand since young is that those who managed to get through it all, know how to survive. Which is exactly what Phineas does. Resourceful, enthusiastic and driven by his love for his family, he does what he can to ensure that his wife and daughters don’t get put out on the street. Even if it means recruiting the wrongly perceived rejects of society to work for him.
Through trial and error, the Barnum & Bailey Circus is eventually born.
Is it worth a watch?
Yes. I would have to say “yes”. Despite my initial misgivings until learning the genre, I was pleasantly surprised that “The Greatest Showman” strikes a fine balance of storytelling and song, without one ever undermining the other.
Not once did I feel the singing obstruct the story in anyway. If anything, the musical performances complemented it, enhanced it even. A welcome experience, needless to say. It is rare for me to get away from a musical without feeling as though the musical performances had been shoved down my throat.
But here we are.
To further add on to the appeal of “The Greatest Showman” is its portrayal of the stark reality of a time when prejudice against those different from us was especially rife. Especially, because it still does exist. The film does not shy away from this theme, and rightfully so.
These qualities aside, however, the shining stars of “The Greatest Showman” go beyond the fine balance, musical performances and dark themes; the stars are the cast themselves and the story. The chemistry between actors and actresses is palpable, and their acting thrilling. There really is something to be said about actors that are able to skillfully deliver weighted messages through mere looks with the same impact a scene with actual dialogue does.
As for the story… “The Greatest Showman” enjoys a well-structured plot that artfully layers and builds it up without once feeling rushed or cobbled together. Altogether a wonderful film to watch with the family.
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini