The Greatest Showman Review

The Greatest Showman

There’s no business like show business, or so the saying goes.

And like most shows, The Greatest Showman starts on time.

Alas, I do not… so first of all, a confession – I may have missed the first hour of this latest Hugh Jackman musical.

For those poor souls who know me well, the only real surprise is that I managed to arrive so early.

I won’t bore you with the details – as always, I was entirely blameless – but this following review might be even patchier than normal.

Anyway, the start of the film for me sees Jackman’s P.T. Barnum character sweeping his Michelle Williams shaped sweetheart away from her controlling father and family home so they can marry and start a family of their own.

You see, I was only five minutes late to this screening – which is entirely respectable in my book.

Unfortunately, there were two screenings of The Greatest Showman going on that day – and I was ushered towards the earlier one.

Admittedly, i was surprised when the film wrapped well within an hour and a half… it wasn’t until I looked up the running time that I realised I’d missed about an hour and five minutes of P.T Barnum’s origin story.

Not that this affected my enjoyment of The Greatest Showman – in fact, I quite liked that it didn’t drag on for the now obligatory two and a half hours.

Like most any musical released in time for the holidays, The Greatest Showman is all about fun… and hitting as many audience demographics as is humanly possible.

And this does it very efficiently.

Jackman is the perfect actor to embody P.T Barnum – the man who invented show business – Michelle Williams continues her transformation from teen tv star to Hollywood idol, while Zac Efron and Zendaya cover the current teen market, as well as most of the alphabet, in their respective roles as two doomed young lovers.

The choreography and energy of The Greatest Showman is infectious, sweeping you along for the ride, and there really is something for everyone in this boxing day release.

Of course, there’s a ceiling to the kind of film you can create when all you’re doing is ticking off focus grouped boxes, making The Greatest Showman ultimately disposable.

But isn’t that what show business is anyway – making something that’s fun and accessible, but little more than this?

And as a man who wages a constant war with time, I’ve got to respect the dedication it takes to produce a spectacle like this.

Because you know that everyone involved in The Greatest Showman was showing up early.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

December 2017