Inspired by the magic of P.T. Barnum and his legacy, The Greatest Showman reunites Hugh Jackman with the musical genre in his second appearance of 2017 following his X-men au revoir in Logan this spring. Featuring Michael Gracey's directorial debut - The Greatest Showman follows show business impresario P.T. Barnum and how he rose from nothing to create one the most famous circus shows in history.
The Greatest Showman's cheap and cheesy spectacle is an uninspired showbiz sham. Boasting an empowering story of persecuted individuality over conventional prejudice but as a whole the film's dazzling performers and sequinned elephants can't hide the reality of the tale - one less magical and far more upsetting.
What is The Greatest Showman really about? A story that takes advantage of those who aren't accepted in the world - in order for one man to fulfil his dream - at the expense of all others. One can't criticise the ambitions of P.T. Barnum, but certainly can condemn the way in which he went about it - musical glitz or otherwise.
Jackman performs well as the enthusiastic Barnum; but even the man of musicals can't extract a single likeable aspect from such a self centred, insincere character. The circus performers he assembled are tricked into believing Barnum has genuine concern for their talent, yet he uses them for his own self promotion and interest. Not once does he show authentic and real concern for them - a story that sells a fun and gritty mix of showbiz but delivers a hollow, character piece that is unaware of its false portrayal of individuality.
Glittery, cheerful, The Greatest Showman's great potential make it all the more insufferable. Perhaps the only thing keeping one in one's seat is the thrilling soundtrack that is easily The Greatest Showman's best feature. The story appears to be threaded together by each musical number in a film otherwise lacking any substance or structure, indeed The Greatest Showman often makes no sense. Characters make sudden decisions to service the progression of the story - their moods quickly change from sombre to excited making many of the characters difficult to take even remotely seriously.
Aside The Greatest Showman's entrancing premise, its a cheap, offensive musical piece that is built upon the lies of its lead. This picture promotes a false and uninspired understanding of society. Though its charming cast and incredible soundtrack lure you in, don't be fooled by this schmaltzy circus and its deceiving show.
The Greatest Showman:
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.