The Greatest Showman directed by Michael Gracey is one of my most favorite musicals of all time. This film is based on P.T. Barnum’s life (Hugh Jackman). He was a famous businessman and started a three-ring circus that was filled with people who were labeled as “freaks”. However, that was far from the truth. Throughout the film one can really appreciate the artistic beauty of diversity within our communities. Despite the judgements of others for their unique appearances they continue their celebration of being different. Unfortunately, none of that was true in real life.
Many people have critiqued this film by stating that P.T Barnum actually lived a cruel life and mistreated his workers (even circus animals) poorly. P.T Barnum was even exploited as a man who was a part of slave ownership. Due to the animal cruelty, the animal rights protests led to P.T Barnum’s circus closing after a run of over 140 years. Many critics also stated that Hollywood once again glamorized another life like P.T. Barnum who was not a kind man at all as he is portrayed in the movie. They even had to villainize the wrong characters such as critic James Gordon Bennett Sr. (Paul SParks) and Jenny Lind (Loren Allred). James Gordon Bennett Sr. was in reality a notorious writer and Jenny Lind never had a romantic affair with P.T Barnum. All in all, the wrong portrayals between some of the characters show how there was a huge injustice in some screen writings in the spotlights of Hollywood.
So why should anyone watch or support this film? The answer is the unbelievable songwriting from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. In addition, the singing from its outstanding cast can really fill one’s heart with inspiration to accomplish anything that they ever dreamt possible. This film had such a legendary cast who delivered such phenomenal musical performances. The song lyrics also had some of the most heartfelt messages you’ll ever hear in a musical. I also would have never imagined that Hugh Jackman could sing, dance and be such a charismatic performer. Jackman’s transition from the fearless Wolverine to P.T. Barnum is remarkable.
[bf_image id="4wfk478rbwnj89r6wbj8mvv7"] Also Zendaya who plays Anne Wheeler the trapeze artist had the utmost dedication to learn some challenging stunts. She said on the Jimmy Fallon show that the director told her, “You might want to start working out. Cause you have trapeze rehearsal when you get here and I want to use the stunt doubles as little as possible.” After Zendaya explained her rehearsals were a lot different from the actual production “I show up on set. The rig was twenty feet taller and there was no net because back in the day they didn’t have those yet. So I was hooked up and I was saved but visually that’s a lot to get over…..but as I went up on the cherry picker, Hugh Jackman passed by and said Zendaya you're a badass so I said take me up!” The interview even shows clips of Zac Efron and Zendaya body slamming into one another until they got it right to create its movie magic poster. Zac Efron who plays Phillip Caryle did an outstanding job as well. His duet with Zendaya, Rewrite The Stars, showed a great message that no one is allowed to hold you back from falling in love. You should also only listen to your heart when it comes to falling in love and no one else matters. Their on-screen romance throughout the film also highlighted the injustice of discrimination and the challenges of interracial couples.
During the making of this film, Michael Gracey said he had one of the most unforgettable moments of his life during Keala Settle's performance on the notorious song This Is Me. He said, “it was one of those moments that will stay with me the rest of my life.” This self-love anthem has been celebrated across the world. This song gives society the opportunity to learn how to let go of all judgements from others and embrace your true inner self. Don’t let your voice go unheard. Don’t let anyone diminish the beauty of your light that makes you shine brighter than everyone else.
[bf_image id="tcwb2w7kc6qws8vjv3qfsqh"] Their song From Now On, gives another empowering message to always stay true to yourself and never let fame nor fortune change you. The repetition of the chorus will leave most people speechless because it shows that as human beings it’s ok to make mistakes throughout our lifetime but that’s alright because that is how we learn. So never question or doubt yourself. Believe in yourself. Be brave, be fearless, be bold and follow your heart. You have the power to pursue your happiness. So never let the opinions of anyone else define who you are because they are not in control of your life; it's solely just you. This is your life so don’t give anyone else the power over it but yourself. You have the power to censor the haters and follow what you're passionate about the most. So what if are we a little different or march to the beat of our own drum? You shouldn’t not hide from it. Embrace it. Make yourself proud. So most of these inspirational songs, talented actors, creative director and overall uplifting message is the reason why you should watch this remarkable film.