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The Greatest Showman: Review

Brynne Qualley, Staff Writer

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WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

The Greatest Showman is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder when dreams become a reality.

The story first starts during Phineas Taylor Barnum’s childhood years working at his father’s tailor shop, when he falls in love with Charity Hallett, the daughter of a wealthy client who would never allow his only child to run off with a tradesman. Although, once she becomes an adult, she can’t, and won’t, let anyone talk her out of marrying her beloved.

Fast-forward a few years and they are parents to two girls living happily, but at the same time, struggling to make ends meet. With help from his girls, Barnum discovers a new way to make money which is creating a museum filled with curiosities and completed with human attractions. Later on, Caroline, Barnum’s oldest daughter, tells him that his museum needs something alive.

Thanks to James Gordon Bennett, the critic for the New York Herald, Barnum creates more and more ways to keep people interested in seeing his show. Written in Bennett’s second article about the museum, he calls it a circus which, in Barnum’s eyes, has a nice ring to it and that’s when his phenomenon was named “Barnum’s Circus.”

The taste of success pushes Barnum to figure out ways to further his reputation amongst the upper class, so he then meets with playwright Phillip Carlyle and is able to convince him to join his endeavor. Carlyle is able to pull a few strings and get Barnum and his troupe to meet with Queen Victoria. During this visit, Barnum meets Jenny Lind, a Swedish singer, who he convinces to perform in America with him being her manager.

The most frustrating point in the entire movie is when Lind starts to fall in love with Barnum even though he is already a married man. Once Barnum refuses her advances, she calls off the rest of the tour, but choses to do one last show before leaving. She wanted to make sure that his career and family life would crumble, so after her performance, she kisses Barnum with dozens of newspapers taking record of this major event.

While Barnum is away, Carlyle took on the job of being the ring master until he got back from his tour. There had been many riots occurring when the circus was first opened, but one of the groups decided to take it inside the building and start a fight when they refused to leave. One thing lead to another and the whole building was set on fire leaving nothing but rubble and lost homes for many characters.

The news about Lind and Barnum finally made its way to Charity and the rest of the world a couple of days after he arrived home after the tour was cut short. No one wanted to see Barnum lose his job, wife, and even his hope that he once had for how their future was going to end up.

“From Now On” is the song that reminds Barnum of why he went into show business and how easily it was to fall into needing more and more money and people to like him. He wasn’t trying to become famous in the beginning, he wanted to make sure that Charity got the life that he had promised her.

The end of the movie made me very emotional due to everything starting to go right in their lives, except for a few riots of course. Carlyle wasn’t just given the position as partners in the business, he was also given the title of Head Ring Master because of Barnum realizing that he already missed many years of his girls growing up.

Actors and amazing shots for different scenes wouldn’t have been able to put this movie together without the songs that touched your heart on an emotional level, whether it be happy or filled with sorrow. 

  1. The Greatest Showman
  2. A Million Dreams
  3. A Million Dreams (Reprise)
  4. Come Alive
  5. The Other Side
  6. Never Enough
  7. This Is Me – Golden Globe Winner for Best Original Song
  8. Rewrite The Stars
  9. Tightrope
  10. Never Enough (Reprise)
  11. From Now On

“The noble art is that of making others happy,” P.T. Barnum.

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