The Greatest Showman Movie Review: Main Themes in Film

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The Greatest Showman by Michael Gracey is a biography/musical of P.T Barnum’s life. The film came out December,20 2017 and made $435 million at the box office even though their budget was $84 million. The main stars in this movie are Michelle Williams (Charity Hallett), Zendaya Coleman (Anne Wheeler), Zac Efron (Phillip Carlyle) and Hugh Jackman (P.T Barnum).

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Two facts about this movie is that the movie was filmed in New York and the production company is TSG Entertainment (Which is responsible for Kingsman and Deadpool.) Interesting facts about this movie is that this is Michael Gracey’s directorial debut. This movie was Hugh Jackman’s dream project. The characters Phillip Carlyle and Anne Wheeler are fictionalized, and their love story was fictionalized. The movie won a Golden Globe for best song (This Is Me.) The last interesting fact I must share with you is during when the movie was green-lit, Hugh Jackman had surgery on his nose to remove skin cancer. He had 80 stitches and was told by his doctor to not sing. Hugh followed the doctor’s directions until it came to the last song (From Now On) where he chose to sing. Halfway though, he realized his nose was bleeding.

Owen Gleiberman in his review of The Greatest Showman said that The Greatest Showman is a good old-fashioned cornball PG musical that is also a scintillatingly flashy — and woke! — immersion in up-to-the-minute razzmatazz. I agree with Owen. It’s a great and sensational movie because of the great themes/hidden messages, great songs and the choreography.

As the movie opens, the audience sees P.T Barnum imaging he is the ring-leader of a highly successful circus and he is also hearing applause from the imaginary audience.

The movie then flashes back to P.T Barnum’s childhood in which he was poor and lonely. He and his father Philo (Will Swenson) are working as personal tailors to the Hallett family. Young P.T Barnum falls in love with Charity Hallett even though she must go to finishing school. Young Barnum assures her, they won’t be separated. (Enter the song: A Million Dreams in which we see Young Barnum spinning a wishing machine). Young Barnum sees his father get ill and then die. (In which we see him take his father’s hat.) He is now alone, homeless and hungry. A “freak” ends up handing him an apple.

Midway through the song, we see the adult Barnum saying to Charity’s father “Sir, I know I don’t come from much, but I will take care of your daughter and I will give her a life as grand as this one.” In response Charity’s dad says “Fine! Marry my pretty daughter, you gutter trash! But she’ll be back once she realizes you’ll never be rich and successful and part of New York Society!”

We see the Barnum’s dancing on the roof-top of their dilapidated Manhattan apartment as all their bedsheets dry on the clothesline. We then see the Barnum’s two daughters. In a moment of bliss, Charity tells Barnum, “I don’t mind not having much money. Let’s just be a happy family.” “Never!” Barnum replies. “I’m going to buy a huge building on the other side of town and start a museum filled with weird shit.” He gets the money and sets up his museum, but no one visits. In his head, Barnum remembers that kind person who gave him an apple once and thinks to fill his circus with “freaks.” We see him auditioning the freaks and getting giddy with glee. Thanks to his “freaks” he gets rich very fast and buys a mansion that him and Charity played at when they were young. Despite their sudden wealth, no one respects the Barnum’s!

Enter in Phillip Carlyle who is a successful playwright and son of Manhattan socialites, to legitimize his business. Phillip agrees and takes a 10% cut. Within seconds, he falls in love with Anne. Phillip takes Barnum and the freaks to meet Queen Victoria in London. After meeting with Queen Victoria, who loves the freaks.

Phineas and Phillip meet Jenny Lind (played by Rebecca Ferguson), a famous singer known as the Swedish Nightingale. They ask her to perform in New York in order to class up his entertainment empire, and she agrees. Meanwhile, Phillip wants to hold Anne’s hand in public, but his parents don’t approve of him seeing an African American woman, so he resists the urge.

At the glamorous afterparty, Barnum toasts Jenny to a room of rich socialites. So, when the freaks try to barge in and drink champagne with everyone, he gets nervous and tells them to skedaddle. They belong in coach, not first class! And here comes “This Is Me,”

Barnum decides to take Jenny on tour around the country and leaves Philip behind to manage the freaks. Despite the awful treatment by Phineas, the freaks end up finding Barnum at a bar and let him know they don’t want him to give up on his dream. While performing “The Greatest Show” once again, Barnum literally passes the baton to Phillip and says he has some business to attend to. He jumps on top of an elephant and rides it to the Met to meet up with his family.

The Greatest Showman is a movie that features great themes/hidden messages. The 5 greatest themes/hidden messages are that family is everything/true love does exist/simplicity equals happiness/follow your heart and embrace your weird side.

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The Greatest Showman Movie Review: Main Themes in Film. (2022, Sep 11). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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