The Greatest Showman (2017), Dir. Michael Gracey

The Greatest Showman (2017), Dir. Michael Gracey
You don’t need the whole world to love you. Just a few good people.
— Charity, The Greatest Showman (2017)

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Paul Sparks, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Cameron Seely, Austyn Johnson.
Director: Michael Gracey
Screenplay: Jenny Bicks & Bill Condon.

If your songs are weak it is best to go back to the drawing board. If your main protagonist is a dick, then maybe just let him be a dick. If you have Zac Efron (Phillip Carlyle) in your musical, then maybe let him do all of it, like all of it because he is magical here with Zendaya (Anne Wheeler) as his co-star—Hugh Jackman (P.T. Barnum) and Michelle Williams (Charity Barnum) are pretty good but really the secondary love story is so much stronger.

That being said, everything with Zac Efron and Zendaya is absolutely brilliant, if this were the main storyline or it had a better storyline to bounce off this could have been a brilliant film. However, The Greatest Showman pulled back on what was truly intriguing. P.T. was an incredible force to reckon with, and he was also not that great of a guy which is hinted at but really was glossed over. To be successful means you have to be ruthless and I wish that Hugh played a ruthless P.T. who knew how to talk someone into doing his bidding while making money for his own self interest.

But what really holds this film back is the quite horrible production and mixing of its songs. It really makes it hard to understand what they are singing about, and they sound rather cheap. Just because La La Land proved that musicals have a future, it does not mean that just any hashed up music is going to make your movie a success.

★ ★ 1/2