The Greatest Showman Movie Review


Photo courtesy of IMDb

Jaclyn Kim, Staff Writer

Released on Dec. 20, 2017, The Greatest Showman is an original musical directed by Michael Gracey that portrays the life of a visionary who becomes a worldwide sensation due to his success in show business. It features a vivid storytelling soundtrack produced by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the lyricists for the 2016 drama musical La La Land.

The Greatest Showman has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture, Best Original Song (“This Is Me”), and Best Performance by Hugh Jackman. The empowering single “This Is Me” succeeded in winning a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar in the category, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) .  

The Greatest Showman depicts P.T. Barnum’s humble beginnings as a tailor’s son who falls in love with the daughter of a rich man named Mr. Hallet. Years after the two marry, Barnum and his wife, Charity, lead a simple life with their two daughters in New York City. Dissatisfied with the predictable simplicity of his life, P.T. Barnum attempts to offer the city people something different and exciting by searching for social outcasts with oddities to open a circus. The circus triggers excitement throughout the town for the emergence of eccentric individuals.

Filled with vibrant color and exuberant choreography, the film portrays P.T. Barnum’s rise to fame as he learns to appeal to a wider audience through the guidance of wealthy Phillip Carlyle, an American playwright, who agrees to work as his partner in order to boost his own reputation. 

A tinge of romance that stirs between Carlyle and an African-American trapeze artist named Anne Wheeler disrupts the rigidity of society’s expectations due to the disapproval towards interracial relationships. Moreover, the townspeople’s lack of substantial respect for the circus performers by calling them “freaks” establishes another distinct separation between anyone that possesses oddities from themselves.

The beautifully-written original This Is Me sung by the circus performers portray their defiance against society’s expectations since the lyrics underscore the performers’ pride in their differences. Thus, the song delivers an uplifting message for audience members to confidently embrace themselves regardless of what others say about them. 

With heartfelt scenes and subtle reminders to value loved ones above all things, the film promotes the beauty of unification of a diverse group of people through music.