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Movie review: 'Greatest Showman' is inspiring, but lacks substance

Movie review: 'Greatest Showman' is inspiring, but lacks substance

Posted December. 21, 2017 09:21,   

Updated December. 21, 2017 09:38


The movie “The Greatest Showman” is a musical drama inspired by Barnum, the founder of the American show business and known for his dazzling shows that captivated the world. He discovers people who are marginalized due to biological rarities and promoted them on stage, bringing a new life full of confidence. As success entails great compensation, Barnum accumulates a great amount of wealth and fame.

My prediction that the movie would end with Barnum successfully completing his shows despite numerous challenges proved wrong. The movie fast forwards Barnum’s success from the start. His challenges, rather than his achievements, are more specifically described. If “La La Land” stood for “the value of love over success,” this movie talks about the importance of family, which is why it is recommended for families to watch together.

However, the story itself is extremely simple. Even the most difficult challenge disappears after a song or a drink. How Barnum seeks those who live hidden and puts them on stage appear easy. The movie lacks inspiration towards the end because of this weak story. The soundtrack makes up for some of the gap, but it is still limited. It is noteworthy that Tony- and Oscar-winning composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul created the songs for the new movie.

Hugh Jackman, who appears in a musical film five years after “Les Miserables,” literally leads the movie alone. He is said to have chosen the character because he believes that Barnum shows that anyone, regardless of his status, race and background, can become anything he wants according to his choice. Barnum’s faithful wife, Charity, was played by Michelle Williams, and soprano opera singer Jenny Lind by Rebecca Ferguson. Rated PG-13.

Sun-Hee Jang sun10@donga.com