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Audiences enchanted by The Greatest Showman

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Audiences enchanted by The Greatest Showman

Photo courtesy of www.fanfest.com

Photo courtesy of www.fanfest.com

Photo courtesy of www.fanfest.com

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P.T. Barnum’s story is the perfect example of the American Dream.

The Academy Award-nominated film, The Greatest Showman, showcases the interesting life of P.T. Barnum, a man who came from nothing and created a show that became a worldwide sensation. The story follows P.T. Barnum in his quest to provide for his family and prove his wife’s disapproving family wrong.

While heartwarming, Barnum’s real journey to success was much darker than the movie portrays. Audience members don’t get to see the complexity of his fame and fortune because the story has been so glossed over. Barnum made unethical decisions such as hiring children and “renting” an older black woman, Joice Heth, to work for him. The movie portrays these workers as adults who willingly joined the circus, when in reality Joice Heth was a slave. Finding out the real story is quite shocking compared to the enchanting story the movie portrays. The real story may not be as glamorous as the storyline in the movie, but showing it would have exposed the reality of how Barnum made it big.

Additionally, in real life, Barnum was absent during the majority of his children’s lives because he was constantly focusing on his work and striving for bigger, better things. In real life, Barnum never had the epiphany that he needed to be there for his children like he did in the song From Now On. In this song, Barnum is depressed about the circus burning down and starts drinking
at a pub. His troupe finds him there and persuades him to rebuild the circus; Barnum has the realization that causes him to understand the circus was for his friends and family rather than for himself.

While the song From Now On is beautiful and a great performance it portrays Barnum as
more of a humble family than he truly is.

In addition to its inaccuracy, the story lacked depth and was a bit too cliche to be believable. Every plot line was predictable and audience members could tell that Barnum, played by Hugh
Jackman, would become overly obsessed with a career in the circus very quickly.

One aspect of Barnum’s life that seems too good to be true is his love story with his wife Charity. It is sweet that he Charity meet when they are young and keep in touch by writing letters. However, it’s simplicity is unbelievable as they met when they were extremely young, do not see each other in person for years, and were not approved of by Charity’s parents.

One positive aspect of the Greatest Showman is the spectacular original soundtrack. The audience will not be able to get the catchy performances out of their heads after watching this film. The song This is Me even won Best Original Song from a Motion Picture at the 2018 Golden Globes. This came as no surprise since the film’s songwriters Benj Pasak and Justin Paul were the main composers for La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen, which are both award-winning Musicals.

The circus “freaks” add another interesting level to the movie, making the troupe more of a family. Not only are they aesthetically interesting, but their diverse stories and ability to work together despite great physical differences makes for a heartwarming plot line. Some of the “freaks” in the show include General Tom Thumb, trapeze artists, a bearded lady, Siamese twins, and a fat man. Actors Zendaya and Zac Efron even did their own stunts, making for an amazingly choreographed scene for Rewrite the Stars, which involves ropes, pulleys, trapeze and so much more. This intense scene about Anne Wheeler, Zendaya, and Phillip, Zac Efron, falling in love is made particularly intimate by the simplicity of their outfits and the lack of an audience in the circus stands.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is a touching musical. With the movie’s diverse cast, catchy theme song, and animated dance numbers, it is definitely worth watching. The extravagant costume design and sharp choreography make up for the storylines lack of authenticity. Despite being set in the 1800s the main themes are still relevant to today, touching upon social issues like class discrimination and dislike toward human abnormalities.

Audience members will be enchanted by this musical movie and walk away singing.

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Audiences enchanted by The Greatest Showman