The Greatest Showman

Reviewed
Thu. 12/28/17
The Greatest Showman
4.0833333333333
Acting
4
4/5
Morality
3
3/5
Music
5
5/5
Story
4
4/5
Visuals
4.5
4.5/5
Kernel Factor
4
4/5
Songs You Won't Soon Forget.
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
Viewing Environment:
Theater
Viewing Crew:
Family
Times Watched:
1
Genre:
Musical/Dance
Payment Method:
MoviePass
Review:

If this hasn't been a musical on Broadway before, I could definitely see this movie becoming a Broadway musical (has a movie ever become a Broadway musical?). That's how good the music is. I really enjoyed La La Land last year, but that was one of the few musicals I've ever liked. So I came into "The Greatest Showman" with some inhibitions, but the story of P.T. Barnum caught my attention. Overall, this film really is a celebration of humanity done around a very compelling and beautiful story. Great work!

Acting
Hugh Jackman leads this cast so well. He has an excellent voice, he effortlessly works the screen, and he's a really likeable character for me. Zac Efron, it's been a while since I've seen him in a film, and I feel like he really grew up since I last saw him act. Although his singing was the least likeable for me, I eventually let it go and enjoyed his performance. Michelle Williams, who I've now seen in back-to-back movies (All the Money in the World), somewhat redeemed herself from that strange performance but I'm still not a huge fan as her character is so passive - but they sort of needed that. The rest of the cast really rose to the occasion and performed so well, specifically Keala Settle who has the voice of an angel. It was a very unique and audacious decision to have certain songs be sung by the character(s) in one scene (clearly lip syncing) and then play it as a "background" song the next scene (no lip movement), but I guess it kind of worked.
Morality
The movie has a GREAT message. BUT, it's MPAA rating is NOT accurate. I don't know who they paid off to get this thing rated as PG, but it's not a PG movie (e.g. there is a lot of drinking, very revealing outfits, bullying/defamatory slurs, and a near love affair). If this movie would've been rated PG-13 I would've probably given it a 5-Kernel score, because it's message is so important, but it requires a more mature child to capture some of its mature themes. Parents should be forewarned that this is not a movie that has "some material that wouldn't be suitable for children" (the definition of "PG"), but more like a lot of material that wouldn't be suitable for children. All this being said, treating all people as valuable and wonderful was SO well done in this movie.
Music
The music in this film is truly incredible. The lyrics are captivating, the beats are audaciously good, the composition/music is tremendous, the singing is on point, and the choreography works to make it all one of the best musical movies I've ever seen. There was maybe one song too many for me, but it is a seriously memorable soundtrack. Get ready for potential radio play on some of these songs. "This is Me" should go down as one of the greats. 
Story
Because they are singing so much you don't always catch on to the fact that this is a true story and they did a fairly good job staying true to the actual storyline of P.T. Barnum. The music helps transition scenes, time, and places in a way that narrative films can't do as well. However, I felt sometimes music was used to escape from what could've been a rich dialogue, which I was hungry for by the end of the movie. The film ends abruptly for me, but it's a great ending nonetheless. 
Visuals
You can tell that lots of camera work and practice was put into this film. Although I'm not a huge fan of their use of painted backgrounds/green screens on several scenes and CGI animals, the rest of the film was so well done from a Visual perspective. The hair/makeup, costumes, set design, and camera movement/angles were so well done. I could see this department being nominated for something come award season. 
Kernel Factor
This movie's message, "circus" cast, and music all really made it a beautiful ensemble to be enjoyed and celebrated.

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