The Greatest Showman makes a Million Dreams come true

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR CUNARD - Hugh Jackman, left, and Michael Gracey attend as Cunard Hosts the World Premiere of 20th Century Foxs The Greatest Showman on board Queen Mary 2 on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Brooklyn, N.Y. This is the first ever major motion picture premier to take place on board a passenger ship. (Photo by Stuart Ramson/Invision for Cunard/AP Images)

Stuart Ramson/Invision/AP

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR CUNARD – Hugh Jackman, left, and Michael Gracey attend as Cunard Hosts the World Premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “The Greatest Showman” on board Queen Mary 2 on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Brooklyn, N.Y. This is the first ever major motion picture premier to take place on board a passenger ship. (Photo by Stuart Ramson/Invision for Cunard/AP Images)

A circus, a ringmaster, trapeze artists, animals, and “freaks,” are all just minor parts of the Golden Globe nominated movie The Greatest Showman. What the trailer doesn’t show is the stories behind what makes up a truly amazing show. The Greatest Showman follows the true story of PT Barnum, the man who created show business and might as well have changed society through it. His inspiring story about starting a business isn’t just about finances, but about building a family of love, trust, and acceptance, all while taking risks.

The story of PT Barnum, portrayed by Hugh Jackman, follows him through his childhood as a pauper after his father’s death. He falls in love with a girl of high society named Charity which is the first sign of Barnum’s persistence to change societal standards. With their powerful romantic connection, Barnum is able to live a life with his true love despite her father’s dismay and confidence that one day his daughter will return home. The life Barnum lives is far from the luxurious life Charity is used to, but together they live life with their eyes open to “the million dreams of the world [they’re] gonna make.”

A life in a two bedroom apartment with a leaky roof is not the life he promised for his wife and kids. After he gets laid off, Barnum’s cunning business skills come into play as he earns a loan from the bank to open a museum, but after a lack of tickets are sold, his children tell him he needs something exciting, something living.

People love people, but when people see people, it’s a different story. Barnum looks out for the people who are unique, peculiar, and unexpected in order to put together a show like no other. His eye for the unknown is both entertaining and horrific for the community, but his talent with showcasing others is what makes him a savvy businessman. Beyond making deals with others, he builds a home of acceptance and love for these society rejected “freaks,” building something much larger than a simple business.

In a time when even people with different colored skin were labeled as “the help,” Barnum opens his mind, heart and soul, to the people who are treated differently because they’re too short, too fat, too tall, too hairy, or too flexible. He doesn’t only build a circus, he builds a society of acceptance- a world that we still try to live in today.

Facing backlash and fighting riots, Barnum doesn’t just fight for his business, but for the family he created.

Plot: 4.5/5

Going into the movie, I was unaware that the story of PT Barnum was true. I appreciated how the movie followed Barnum’s life from the beginning, when he met the first person to catch his eye: Charity. The love story between the dissimilar two sets up the theme for overriding society’s views and traditions. Barnum’s persistence shines through the entire movie and builds the plot as it heightens with every risk he takes. The movie shows the choices he makes and the things he sacrifices in order to keep his business afloat. He ends up hurting his family and hurting the people of his circus,but in the end gets his priorities sorted out and embodies a truly intelligent businessman.

Songs: 5/5

The songs are easily the best part of the movie. After watching it, I went home to listen to the soundtrack, and it’s been on repeat ever since. The songs are all about different things and the stories of different characters. The music reflects the themes of the movie and almost paint the story better in your head than the movie does. The lyrics and melodies are incredible, so it’s no wonder why Justin Paul and Benj Pasek won the Golden Globe for best original song in a motion picture movie after creating the incredibly empowering song, “This is Me.” Each song has its own flair and unique qualities that help make the movie what it is. My personal favorite song is “A Million Dreams,” because the lyrics are incredibly beautiful and it is the song that sets up the romantic relationship for Barnum and Charity.

Casting and Characters: 5/5

The casting directors did a phenomenal job. Every single character in The Greatest Showman is so important and their stories are crucial for the plot. Character development is a huge part of what makes a story, and although Barnem and Charity star as the leads, the other characters are introduced later and introduce all sorts of aspects about the circus and things that have never been done and showcased before. One of the best parts about the movie is the love connection between characters Anne Wheeler, portrayed by Zendaya, and Phillip, portrayed by Zac Efron. The reason why the bond between these characters is so strong and influential is because it is a relationship between a white man living an upscale life and a woman of color who knows the hardships society places on her. The scenes between the two are so precious, you can almost feel the audience want things to work out between them, even though Anne and Phillip know society will not tolerate the relationship.

Visual Appeal: 4/5

In this case, visual appeal refers to tricks. Zendaya is the key component in this aspect because her character is a trapeze artist. Zendaya had intense trapeze training and had to build both upper body strength and a trust with her partners and the equipment while making everything look easy and graceful. Her newly trained talents were showcased in her duet with co-star Zac Efron in the song “Rewrite the Stars.” Although Efron also had to perform some tricks, the weight of the duet was heavily placed on Zendaya. She was beautiful and scintillated with grace, but the reason why this section didn’t have a full 5 points is because there weren’t any other characters that performed very exciting tricks. It’s a circus, it needs more tricks!

Overall: 18.5/20

I would definitely see this movie again. It is one of those movies that is enjoyable for everyone because it is about two very important things: acceptance and family.