THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (PG)
D: Michael Gracey
20th Century Fox/TSG/Seed (Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin & Jenno Topping)
USA 🇺🇸 2017
W: Jenny Bicks & Bill Condon
DP: Seamus McGarvey
Ed: Tom Cross, Robert Duffy, Joe Hutshing, Michael McCusker, Jon Poll & Spencer Susser
Mus: John Debney
PD: Nathan Crowley
Cos: Ellen Mirojnick
Hugh Jackman (P.T. Barnum), Zac Efron (Phillip Carlyle), Michelle Williams (Charity Barnum), Rebecca Ferguson (Jenny Lind), Zendaya (Anne Wheeler), Keala Settle (Lettie Lutz)
"The critics got it wrong" screamed the many moviegoers who not only enjoyed this movie, but called it one of 2017's best. These polarising views happen from time to time, but since enjoyment of anything is subject to opinion, it's impossible to please all of the people all of the time.
Personally, I really didn't enjoy this film. As a biopic it takes way too much creative licence with the truth about P.T. Barnum, sugarcoating the truth to the point where this film would become hazardous to diabetics. As a musical, I liked it even less, feeling this was more High School Musical at the circus than anything with any substance. In fact, the 1989 farce The Tall Guy (qv) features a musical parody of The Elephant Man, which was intended to poke fun at Lloyd-Webber productions. It seems that 28 years later, someone in Hollywood didn't understand the joke and made this instead...
I'm not a fan of musicals anyway, especially the garish, gaudy, in-your-face variety like Moulin Rouge, 2013's The a Great Gatsby and this, which feels as though the virtue-signalling moral of equality and acceptance is so blatantly shoved down your throat, it's actually quite choking.
Though the costumes and production design are decent, the CGI visual effects are incredibly poor and many of the songs are bland, except perhaps the showstopper "This Is Me", an Oscar nominee for a Best Original Song.
Yes, it may have been popular with people, but so is McDonalds, and it will be a cold day in hell when a restaurant critic writes about them serving the best food in town.
I'd like to give this film less than the rating below, but I can't really call it a terrible film, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I'll accept this will be an unpopular opinion, but it's my own.