The Greatest Showman (2017)

The Greatest Showman
Director: Michael Gracey
Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eric Anderson
Seen on: 9.1.2018

P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is driven and has big dreams. But he’s also poor. His wife Charity (Michelle Williams) is fully supportive. When Barnum loses his job, he finds a way to get a loan and invests in a museum of oddities. But he soon graduates from showing way figures to building a show with extraordinary people.

I was fully prepared for The Greatest Showman to be awful, but I really didn’t expect the level of terrible the film achieves. It’s a catastrophe wrapped in a candy look.

The real P.T. Barnum was not a good guy, he used disabled people in the most heinous way, practically enslaving them, and was only interested in his own profits. The movie tries to sanitize him (a questionable endeavor to begin with), but given that they try to sell him as a simply enterprising business man, a visionary striving for the American Dream(tm), the fact that movie!Barnum is still an incredible asshole speaks to how much of one he must have been in real life.

That not only begs the question of why you would want to make a film celebrating this guy, but also why anybody should care about him when they do happen to watch it. I should have stayed away, but I thought that it would be a nice musical at least and I like Hugh Jackman, so I was sucked in. I failed myself and the world.

We have a film about a “freak show” here that doesn’t manage to give any of the “freaks” personalities (they rather spend time with Zendaya who for some reason is part of the show. Maybe because she’s so freakishly pretty or something) or include actually disabled people in any meaningful way (the one person who is actually disabled and not just wearing heavy make-up is Sam Humphrey who is given a different disability with the worst special effects for some unfathomable reason). But even if you do manage to disregard that, what you’re left with is still a musical about an asshole with pretty bad music and extremely weak choreographies. The only song I could get into was Never Enough (although Rebecca Ferguson’s lipsyncing was weird), and one nice song in a two hour musical just doesn’t cut it. And that the big romantic ballad is way too high for Zac Efron, making his part sound wonky as fuck, is just embarassing.

The entire film is embarassing. It’s an epic mess and not in an interesting way. I hated it in pretty much every single way.

Summarizing: Cringeworthy, horrible, offensive.

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