Really Late Movie Review: The Greatest Showman

Date: 06 August 2019

My birthday was this week and one of the things my wife gave me was a copy of The Greatest Showman. I’ve heard many of the songs but I’ve never seen the movie. Is this the greatest show?

First off, the music is amazing. They got a great cast with a lot of musical talent. Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya really knock it out of the park. I’ve heard most of the songs already. (They come up a lot on one of my Pandora stations.) They are great there but seeing them in context takes them to the next level. “This is Me”, in particular gave me chills when it came up.

The Greatest Showman tells a highly fictionalized story of the life of P. T. Barnum and the creation of his famous circus. The story isn’t particularly deep but it’s well told. Most of the depth comes through the music. To be fair, that’s pretty much par for the course with a musical. That’s not to say the rest is bad. Far from it. The music just so amazing that the time between songs becomes a nice break before we’re hit with the next powerhouse musical number. It’s kinda like an action movie except of epic car chases and explosions, we get epic music.

Zendaya’s non-singing performance really stood out to me. She can portray so much emotion with out saying anything. She practically stole every scene she was in.

There are a couple of weaknesses. The effects were serviceable but not amazing. Nearly every animal in the movie looked fake. They don’t show up often but they pulled me out of the movie just a bit every time they showed up.

The Greatest Showman also glossed over the more “colorful” parts of Barnum. For example, one of his most famous quotes is “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He was a conman and a hustler who frequently played on the ignorance of his audience. (Not unlike politicians today. 😉) While he is frequently called a conman and worse by his detractors, you never really see it.

Overall, I loved The Greatest Showman. As soon as it ended, I wanted to watch it again. My youngest daughters (who are in their early teens) both really enjoyed it, too. I can wholeheartedly recommend The Greatest Showman to one and all.