Movie Review: The Greatest Showman (2017)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

After spending 2 glorious hours in the theater today watching The Greatest Showman, one thing struck home. Nobody should care whether the movie is a true representation of P.T. Barnum’s real life. That’s not what The Greatest Showman is all about; rather, the movie is the embodiment of believing in impossible dreams and of loving yourself despite what the world says.

My sister cosplays and depending on what she’s wearing and where she is, it’s hilarious watching people try desperately to not look at her. To pretend they don’t see her and that she isn’t dressed in full Victorian garb, bustle, corset, and all. Why? Because she’s different and people do . . . not . . . like . . . different.

P.T. Barnum was different.

And The Greatest Showman represents him as the glorious type of different that ignites the imaginations of the people around him. This movie tells you that it’s okay to be different because you still have the right to happiness, to family, to love, despite anything that anyone may say to the contrary.

So I pretty much spit on the Rotten Tomatoes critics that are complaining about everything from The Greatest Showman not being true to history (Really? You mean Barnum didn’t sing and dance modern show tunes through his life story?), claims about it being formulaic (Hmm, I’m pretty sure Sing got some pretty serious praise and The Greatest Showman is waaaaay superior), and containing some of the worst songs in show tune history (Ummm, you're going to try and teach me about music, now? I know what I like).

Honestly, it really just feels like modern critics have the exact same approach to the exciting and fantastical as the humbug critic in The Greatest Showman. Awww, did the poor wittle babies take offense at such an accurate representation of themselves? To steal a quote from George Gilbert, a favorite radio character of mine from Father Gilbert, modern film critics are "narrow-minded and prejudicial."

You put Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron in starring leads in a larger-than-life musical about chasing dreams and you’ve got a winner. I haven’t fallen this hard for a film since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theaters, and it’s disappointing to find the same critics who praised the lackluster LaLa Land being so boorish about this fresh, invigorating and just plain fun musical. Just when I really needed a toe-tapping good time, The Greatest Showman popped up to surprise and impress me, so much so that I wished I'd had the time to buy another ticket, turn around, and see it twice in the same day!

Hugh, it’s good to see you back doing musicals again and not bulked up to the nines playing Wolverine. You’re so much better than just an X-man and The Greatest Showman proves it.

And Zac, WOW. I have so totally missed you, dude! Not that you haven’t been in movies because you have, but, come on now, do obnoxious frat boy roles really match you? You’re better than those characters, and I LOVED you as Philip Carlisle. I miss hearing you sing and that number you and Hugh perform together is AMAZING. My advice for what it’s worth and that’s very little is to shelve any future frat boy films and stick to the classier roles. They suit you. Just own that you're a classy gent and run with it.


  1. I've been avoiding reading critical reviews of all movies lately because I just never really agree with them. And I don't need the voices of strangers in my head telling me I shouldn't like things I like. I have my own taste, they have theirs, and that's life.

    I've only seen Zac Efron in a tiny role on Firefly, but I quite enjoyed him in this. He had a nice acidic edge to him that balanced out Hugh's starry expansiveness. LOVED their scenes together, especially that duet.

    1. Good heavens, was Zac in Firefly? No way!

      I've been listening to the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman practically on repeat for the last couple of days and a lot of thoughts have developed about it and reasons why I love it so much. So I'll get a post written about it sometime this week. The music really speaks to me a lot and it was pretty cool that today I actually figured out why!

    2. Ooh, and if you're ever in the mood for a good belly laugh, watch Zac in Seventeen Again. It's hilarious and actually pretty clean for a PG13.

    3. Yeah, he was in one ep playing young Simon in a flashback. It was his first role.

      My copy of the soundtrack should arrive today, and I cannot wait :-D Looking forward to your post!

      I haven't seen Seventeen Again but I've heard that people who like 13 Going on 30 like it, and I do like that one, so I'll have to see if I can find 17 Again at the library.

  2. La La Land didn't hit them where it hurts: with an enormous chunk of the American spirit, through a highly controvertible but likable man who openly states that a sucker is born every moment, and flips the proverbial finger at critics "who hate the theater." Ha, ha. P.T. Barnum stands for everything they hate: a no-holds-barred, 'rude' American businessman with no regard for social hierarchies other than to bust through them.

    It's a great film. I've already pre-ordered a copy of it. ;)


Thank you for your kind comments, which I adore!