My hopes were beyond high. My expectations were… well, I wouldn’t say they were that high since I did look at some reviews prior to watching The Greatest Showman, but man… I was not prepared for the severe mediocrity and dullness of this movie.
I am a huge fan of movie-musicals, my favourites being Moulin Rouge!, Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd and, on a more “guilty pleasure” level, Rent, and normally I can find the good in even a mediocre movie-musical. That being said, the only thing I found remotely ‘good’ about The Greatest Showman was Hugh Jackman’s dedication to his role as P.T. Barnum. I later read about how this was a passion project of Hugh’s and that just makes me tremendously sad. To pour your heart and soul (and bank account) into a creation that just falls entirely flat… I can’t even imagine. Though, to be fair, I don’t know if any of Hugh Jackman’s personal dollars were poured into this monstrosity.
The message is a great one. The story is a dull one (and pretty much entirely false). The songs are pathetic attempts at showtunes.
If you’re looking for a biographical film about Barnum’s life, this is not it! One of my favourite things about watching a movie-musical is coming away humming the soundtrack, singing it in my quiet moments, playing the songs endlessly when I’m driving around in my car. I couldn’t hum you a single bar in this movie. Each song was more forgettable than the last and so “poppy” it was physically painful to sit through. It had a promising cast, but most of the characters fell flat and didn’t resonate with me at all.
Hugh was great, Zac was pretty good… Michelle Williams was just Michelle Williams. Zendaya was certainly there.
What does a movie-musical have going for it if it doesn’t have a catchy, fantastic soundtrack, phenomenal (stage-quality) acting, choreography that impresses and awes, and a plot that is driven, that is linear, that is great? It has nothing. It is confused and it is contrived and I literally can’t express to you how much I disliked this film.
All it succeeded in doing was encouraging me to bleach my eyes and ears by watching a superior musical (literally anything else). If this is one you’re excited about, I say skip it and message me, I can give you some worthwhile musicals to spend 106 minutes of your life on.