Movie Review: The Greatest Showman (2017)

Synopsis: After losing his job as a shipping clerk, an impoverished son of a tailor, Phineas Taylor Barnum, cons a bank into giving him a $10,000 loan so he can open a museum. When the museum fails to draw a crowd, he adds a live freak show act that, despite ongoing community protests, quickly makes him wealthy. However, despite his success, he is still treated as an outsider by other members of the upper class and, in an effort to be accepted, takes steps that could cause his financial downfall and ruin his marriage to the woman he has loved since childhood.

Who's in it? The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.


Review: My oldest daughter saw this film during a movie day at school last year and quickly described it as one of her favorites. She is even working on an ice skating program to one of the songs from this film. As a result of this, she ended up with a copy of the movie for her birthday and, based on her recommendation, we sat down to watch this as a family this past weekend.

Overall, I thought this was an OK film. But, unlike my daughter, I also thought it fell well short of being one of my favorites.

I'll start out by saying I did like the songs from this musical. Most of them were very catchy and I did like the way they were used to effectively set the mood for the specific scene. Unfortunately, beyond that, I really didn't think there was much about this film that set it apart from the other musicals we've watched.

My wife and daughter were both quick to point out the movie wasn't even remotely historically accurate and the former was kind of disappointed by that. However, given this was a musical meant more for entertainment purposes than educational purposes, I was willing to overlook that.

What bothered me more about this movie was the way it ended up being very predictable. I can honestly say there was nothing about this film that surprised me. whether it was his business venture/near affair with opera singer Jenny Lind (Ferguson) or what ultimately ends up happening to his museum. As much as I was hoping this would be something different, there really wasn't anything in this film I haven't already seen in a Disney movie or romantic comedy.

In fact, as I watched this movie, I kind of wished the writers would have gone in a different direction and made the movie his bearded lady, Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), with Barnum as a background character. I think that would have made the movie a lot more unique and memorable.

Final Opinion: It's not a bad movie and, as I said, the songs are catchy. But, it does fall short of being something special.

My Grade: C

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