The Greatest Showman
Hugh Jackman is quite the showman; he’s been frequently asked to host many awards shows from the Tonys to the Oscars due to his incredible affinity at riling up a crowd. It seems natural then that he should play the leading role in The Greatest Showman which goes about the life of P.T. Barnum in the 1800s as he created one of, if not the most, famous circus company in the world.
The Greatest Showman is essentially a biopic by way of a musical. It follows P.T. Barnum (Jackman) and his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) as they struggle financially, and yet cheat out a large bank loan and set up recruiting odd-looking and talented people to put on their show. The film then goes about showing Barnum’s descent into greed and a side-plot romance between his junior partner (Zach Efron) and the star trapeze artist (Zendaya).
The film is made in an old Hollywood style, with a clear use of sets and costuming that would seem fit in West Side Story. The actors are all extremely game and capture this old-sense aura in their acting, some particular fine performances come unexpectedly from the young Zach Efron and Zendaya; both have such gravitas that you end up wanting more of their characters’ interaction after the film ends. And Jackman of course is a force all himself, carrying much of the film with a smile on his face. Williams on the other hand, gets very little screen time; the little time that she was on screen she made the film seem three times as prestigious as it was, that much tells you the incredible kind of actress she is.
But the film had its drawbacks. One big aspect that really brought down the film for me was the music. The Greatest Showman has its songs written by the same lyricists as those from La La Land, however, you can tell that the melodies were completely new. Each song seems undecipherable from the next, most being monotone and not taking advantage of the wonderful singers that the film has in its cast. Then there’s the fact that the songs are all from the pop or hip-hop genres, so that they stand out jarringly in the film like a sore thumb, in comparison with the other impeccable 1800s style; it simply doesn’t match. You end up becoming accustomed to one tone of the film, when suddenly a song ends or begins, breaking it up all over again. If the music doesn’t work then, we lose a big emotional facet of the film and we’re left with the very underworked story that gleans over its fascinating characters.
The film’s visual appeal is there as is the enthusiasm of its cast, but in the end, for a movie titled The Greatest Showmanwe end up getting just a shiny shell with an echoing interior.