The Greatest Showman Review


Niko Tavernise

Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum in Twentieth Century Fox’s 'The Greatest Showman.'

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Carly Anderson, Conceptual Editor-in-Chief Intern

Everyone’s heard of P. T. Barnum, or at least the renowned Barnum & Bailey Circus. Almost 150 years after its wildly successful start, “The Greatest Showman” recounts the creation of what is still today known as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” starring celebrities Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya. While predictable, this movie completely captures the dramatic and flashy atmosphere of the American circus and is a great example of showmanship at its finest.

Since its release on Dec. 8, “The Greatest Showman” has won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song with “This Is Me,” along with two other nominations for Best Actor (Hugh Jackman) and Best Motion Picture. Additionally, the movie received a nomination for the Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Period Film. The results for the last award will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

 In 2016, “La La Land” was unique to casual moviegoers with its catchy songs and well-known cast, and now critics have dubbed “The Greatest Showman” superior over the widely enjoyed film because it uses music to propel the story forward, instead of simply entertaining the audience. With specific tones for each character’s storyline, the plot was very well-developed and I was happy to find that each song was unique and kept the audience on their toes. There was very little repetition, and while that did take away from a unified sound, each song fits perfectly into the movie.

More than the music, however, fan feedback has focused on the interracial relationship between Zendaya and Efron’s characters. Anne, who is a trapeze artist in the circus, and Philip, Barnum’s protégé, face the disapproval of racist townspeople. Their romance progresses through the songs “Rewrite the Stars” and “This Is Me,” and helps carry out the message that being different is okay, and no one should be treated differently because of how they look. I loved the way they used this message for each of the characters, whether their “flaw” was a physical characteristic or money, accepting people for who they are was a solid, well-placed theme throughout.

The one problem I had was that the plot conflicts were resolved almost as quickly as they appeared. This isn’t exactly a bad thing because it makes for a happy, uplifting movie, but some scenes seemed a bit rushed and unrealistic because of it. If there was one thing I could change, I would drag everything out just a little longer so we could really enjoy the drama of the circus, and for a movie that’s only 105 minutes, it doesn’t seem like an incredibly difficult thing to do. Even though I felt like the ending came much too quickly, director Michael Gracey definitely packed a lot into the allotted time.

In the end, the visuals on their own were enough to keep me hooked, but the talented actors and interesting take on P.T. Barnum’s life were a brilliant addition. If you’re looking for an emotional movie with an amazing soundtrack, this is it. Go out and see it, and experience “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

The Parkway West Pathfinder gives The Greatest Showman a 7.9/10.