The Greatest Showman Review


Maximilian Bühn

The entertaining new film inspired by the story of P.T Barnum is making a splash in theaters, with an opening weekend that garnered $8,805,843.

Laura Considine, Staff Writer

The Greatest Showman, released on December 8, is a captivating film inspired by the story of P.T. Barnum. Showcasing Barnum’s real life rise from pauper to millionaire, lead actor Hugh Jackman gives a charming performance. Zac Efron, Zendaya and Michelle Williams also make an appearance in the film. For 1 hour and 45 minutes, audiences are enthralled by acrobatic tricks, uplifting music, and a touching love story.

P.T. Barnum’s life serves as an inspiration for anyone with a dream. The Greatest Showman begins when he was a young boy living in the streets and struggling to find food. As Barnum grows, his distaste for his mundane job is evident. When he finally gets the courage to purchase a theater, his life is forever changed. Finding the outcasts of society, he creates a successful business that garnered millions. Portraying Barnum’s rags-to-riches life serves as a reminder to anyone who is dreaming big that change is possible. Owen Gleiberman of describes P.T Barnum (Hugh Jackman) as “a saintly huckster-maestro who invented the spirit of modern showbiz by daring to follow his dream.”

Inclusiveness is a major theme in the film. The performers in the circus were rejected by society, yet found a home with each other. In a world where there seems to be more bad news than good, a story of people coming together and being resilient is much needed. Many in the audience left the theater with a warm and hopeful feeling.

Viewers of all ages can appreciate the entertaining visuals. Musical numbers are placed at opportune times throughout the story. They feature amazing choreography coupled with catchy tunes. The movie is filled with acrobatic stunts, tricks, and colorful settings.

The downfall of the movie is it’s cheap CGI rendering. Instead of having actors or stunt doubles perform the acts, the directors decided to use CGI. It is obviously fake and takes away from the whimsical feeling of the film. Stephanie Merry of the Washington Post says, “Everything about the movie feels artificial, from the singers’ blatantly Auto-Tuned voices to the CGI acrobatics.” The whole movie, in fact, feels artificial. While it’s no secret that P.T. Barnum used illusions and trickery in his circus to hoodwink audiences, the film relies on viewers not looking too closely.

Even with it’s cheap graphics, The Greatest Showman is an enjoyable, family-friendly film. As long as viewers allow themselves to be swept up in the buzz of the movie, they will be pleasantly surprised by how entertaining it is. Unlike so many recent films, such as Dunkirk, The Greatest Showman, steers clear of any dark themes. I would recommend this movie to anyone with two hours to spare, as it is an endearing and delightful experience.