The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman

(2017)

The impossible comes true.

Hugh Jackman stars in this original musical inspired by the life of American showman P.T. Barnum, founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus. Features songs by Academy Award winners Benji Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land).

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Flicks Review

First things first: this musical should not be looked to as any kind of remotely realistic biopic of legendary circus impresario P.T. Barnum, portrayed in the film by Hugh Jackman, for whom this was apparently a passion project.... More

Instead, The Greatest Showman uses the broadest strokes of Barnum's life as the basis for a frenetic collision of music, colours and dancing. Many of the resulting set-pieces have considerable energy and entertainment value in the moment, but the overall experience fails to leave much of a lasting impression.

Jackman, a noted musical enthusiast, throws himself into the role and is clearly relishing the chance to sing and dance on screen. The songs, from Oscar-winning La La Land lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, project a determinedly contemporary flavour for the most part. I'm not in any way a musical fan, and I gotta admit I kinda liked 'em.

The biggest issue is the degree to which so many aspects of Barnum's business are troubling from a contemporary perspective, most notably the use of so-called human "freaks" as public entertainment. The film uses the injustice of their existence to present messages of self-empowerment and pride, and although the resulting songs undeniably contain some degree of power, it's hard to shake the sense that some deeply awful activities are being glossed over in the name of a catchy tune and a quick step. As hard as everyone tries, the film is never quite able to outrun this dynamic.

Still, there is fun to be had here. As long as you do your best not to think about it too hard. And can stomach plenty of earnest cheese.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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A lot of singing. I didn't know there would be singing and it really ruins what could have been a cool movie. The songs are basic and have nothing to them but are catchy. But the singing gets really, really annoying very quickly.


BY Deb superstar

A sweet musical that doesn't do its source material justice. Great performances but lacking in the story department which in a musical is not a high bar.


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The Press Reviews

  • An old-fashioned musical with a none-more-zeitgeisty songsheet, it may not be a flawless piece of storytelling, but it's a pretty decent show. Full Review

  • Amazingly, a virtuoso Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, spare-no-expense production values and a score by Oscar (La La Land) and Tony (Dear Evan Hansen) winners Ben Pasek and Justin Paul add up to a shrill blast of nothing. Full Review

  • By the end, I found myself exhausted by the idea of wonder, not to mention the film's notion that critics - those evil, fun-hating critics - are immune to it. Full Review

  • The sawdust and sequins are laid on thick, the period flashbulbs pop and the champagne flows in The Greatest Showman, yet this ersatz portrait of American big-top tent impresario P.T. Barnum is all smoke and mirrors, no substance. Full Review

  • "The Greatest Showman," for all its celebratory razzle-dazzle, in the end feels curiously lacking in conviction. Full Review

  • "The Greatest Showman" wants to give you a splashy good time, and does, and it's got something that takes you by surprise: a genuine romantic spirit. Full Review

  • An amusement park version of P.T. Barnum is fine, as far as that goes, but if you are going to aim for family-friendly fun, you need to get the fun part right. Full Review

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