The Garnet Mine

The Greatest Showman Movie Review

Not necessarily the greatest, but still good.

Alaire Kanes, Editor

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As I walked in to the theatre, my expectations for this movie were set low. Very low. Hugh Jackman + autotune normally does not equal success in my book (circa live action Les Mis 2012). I bought my movie ticket with hopes of making fun of a ridiculous movie while also fulfilling my 11 year old dreams of listening to Zac Efron sing once more since his peak in High School Musical 3. I’m a sucker for any musical movie (The Mamma Mia soundtrack is my go-to), but in all honestly, I was more than ready to completely destroy this movie.

I really did not expect The Greatest Showman to be…great, let alone good. Maybe it’s because my expectations were set so low that I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it’s because of Zac Efron and Zendaya’s moving duet, or the catchy dance numbers. But most of all, the heartwarming message of embracing people’s differences to spread joy was actually inspiring– and helped to sustain the audience through the movie’s lackluster plot.

Just kidding. It was definitely Zac Efron.

The movie-musical is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of genre. Loosely inspired by the true story of showman P.T Barnum, “The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation”(Imbd.com, in the official description of the movie). I don’t know if I’d call the music in The Greatest Showman original, but nonetheless, it was catchy  and made me want to dance, which is good enough in my book. It was  written by award winning composers Ben Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen!), and even though the lyrics were mediocre, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Keala Settle, and Rebecca Ferguson sang their hearts out. It was pretty moving. Junior Lily Polito, after seeing the movie, stated “I have no words,” and senior Melissa Bergin even bought the album, saying how she loves  Zac Efron and Zendaya and how “they are her parents.”

The opening dance number with Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams gave me some serious La La Land vibes. Michelle Williams’s portrayal of Barnum’s wife was a standout role in the film, in my opinion.

The outcast characters in the movie hit a timeless (but generally overused) chord among audience members, and I even started to cry at one point in the movie! Yeah, I know, I cried at a PG musical about a circus, but try not to cry while watching a bunch of people society has labeled as freaks band together, defy all odds, dance in impeccably synchronized movements, and start singing (generic pop music) about embracing who they are. If I’m ever having a particularly rough day, you will definitely find me listening to “This is Me,” or “Rewrite the Stars.” (I would watch the movie again just to see the scene in which Zendaya and Zac Efron sing “Rewrite the Stars”– it was really good. Plus, they even did a majority of their trapeze stunts themselves, which is impressive.)

This scene was so. freakin. cool. (Photo credit: Youtube.com)

So, in the end,  the movie was cheesy, and at times, lacked a certain depth and character development necessary to make a genuinely fantastic film, but I don’t think The Greatest Showman needed to be a genuinely fantastic film.  At its foundation, it was a family-friendly, inspiring, entertaining movie with some catchy music and some visually pleasing dance numbers. And though the message of ~embracing our differences~ may be cliche, I think it is a well intentioned cliche that carries more than enough weight, especially in today’s world.

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The Greatest Showman Movie Review