The Greatest Showman tried to be the next La La Land, but lightning doesn’t always strike twice. While they did have the same songwriters, the music isn’t exactly supported by the story. When I first heard about The Greatest Showman I figured it was just the kind of role Hugh Jackman was made for. Since he’s either Wolverine or the song and dance man. Then I saw the trailer and I figured Oscar attention was a possibility.
Even though in this case, Hugh Jackman’s performance in Logan was more deserving than this. The Greatest Showman has excellent original songs including: “The Greatest Show,” “Rewrite the Stars,” and their biggest hit “This is Me.” Along with exhilarating dance numbers and colorful visuals. Without that, The Greatest Showman would have been nothing to talk about. Except for what the biggest problem with the movie is. The fact that P.T. Barnum was nobody to idealize.
This is the man who coined the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He exploited/mistreated “freaks,” animals, and he profited from fraud. Not to mention the movie’s rosy take on discrimination. The interracial romance didn’t exist and if it did, it wouldn’t have had a happy ending. A story like this doesn’t work with modern ways of thinking. No way is a 19th century critic gonna call the show a “celebration of humanity.” The Greatest Showman is a fun musical, but not the best history lesson.