The Greatest Showman | Chicago Reader

The Greatest Showman

The 19th-century circus mogul P.T. Barnum crassly exploited the disfigured and disabled people in his sideshows, but the man played by Hugh Jackman in this sanitized musical biopic is an idealist who wants only to bring joy to the world. Screenwriters Jenny Bicks (HBO's Sex and the City) and Bill Condon (Kinsey, Gods and Monsters) whitewash history at every turn, making Barnum a warm, paternal figure beloved by his sideshow performers, wife, and children. Jackman is charismatic in the lead but no match for the movie's slickness and sentimentality, and the songs are generic Top 40 pop. Michael Gracey directed; with Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and singer Zendaya.



  • Michael Gracey


  • Hugh Jackman
  • Zac Efron
  • Michelle Williams
  • Rebecca Ferguson
  • Zendaya
  • Keala Settle
  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
  • Paul Sparks
  • Natasha Bordizzo


  • Laurence Mark
  • Peter Chernin
  • Jenno Topping
  • James Mangold
  • Donald Lee Jr.
  • Tonia Davis

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