The beginning and the ending of the movie The Greatest Showman has some fabulously well choreographed musical set pieces with lyrics that have energy and inspiration to its credit. But this story about PT Barnum that happens in between these isn’t really that inspiring. The hurried narrative takes away the charm considerably from this film.
PT Barnum had a really miserable childhood that made him deterministic on being famous and rich by doing unique things. The guy decided to take the risk by setting up a show that had people with uniqueness largely sidelined by the society. The film shows the journey of Barnum and his troop through all the ups and downs.
It’s the shallowness in writing that makes this film fizzle away from being engaging or moving. The speed with which things are evolving on the screen is too fast and it is hard to get the feel of it. In the earlier portions the director was using the musical part of the narrative effectively to summarize developments that happened over a period of time. But somewhere after the first half an hour or so, the film starts to feel a bit hurried. And even after having well designed sequences with neat performances, The Greatest Showman was finding it difficult to have a hold on its narrative.
Hugh Jackman is in that energetic vibrant mode throughout the film and carries the optimism neatly. Michelle Williams was good as Charity Barnum. Rebecca Ferguson looks perfect to be Jenny Lind. Zac Efron was fine as Philip Carlyle. Zendaya and Keala Settle were other key performers of this musical.
This is the first directorial venture of visual effects artist Michael Gracey and he has made sure that the visual grandeur of this movie is brilliant. Enormous sets and visually stunning musical portions are indeed the bright side of this movie. But where Gracey was falling short was in the screenplay department. He is trying to traverse through a major portion of one man’s life and the evenness sort of restricts the movie from focusing on a particular conflict. At one point I kind of forgot about Hugh Jackman’s character when the movie shifted entirely towards Zac Efron’s Philip Carlyle and his love story. It’s a musical and the song “This is me” was truly a fabulous one.
The Great Showman has great visuals, great music and convincing performances. But a key thing was on the weaker side and that was its screenplay. With a runtime of 105 minutes, this Hugh Jackman starrer is definitely a watchable one.
One key thing was on the weaker side and that was The Greatest Showman's screenplay.