The Greatest Showman (2017)

Written by: Josh Ben-Ami

If “THIS is the greatest show,” a line bellowed by the entire cast multiple times throughout THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, then we may need to rethink our use of such superlatives. The story of show business entrepreneur P.T. Barnum packs all of the pizazz and visual splendor of the circus despite an underwhelming story. Hugh Jackman is terrific, even as he leads a cast of undeveloped characters with no clear motive besides to entertain. Sound-wise, the film is more DUNKIRK than LA LA LAND, with actors’ voices being drowned out in virtually every musical number- a shame, especially since Keala Settle’s vocals carry the triumphant “This Is Me.” At the end of the day, this film never aspires to be anything more than entertaining, and that alone may very well warm your heart.

Mercer Malakoff