In my opinion, a movie or a show needs to have quite a few things to really make it go “WOW!” The events of the movie need to flow together but have some twists. If there is flashbacks, they need to make sense with where they are inserted. The costumes need to fit the characters personality, the plot needs to have high climatic moments and calm soothing moments, and the settings needs to diverse. The Greatest Showman ticked all of these boxes. So, to me, The Greatest Showman was a remarkable movie. The storyline itself really brought it all together for me. But not all people loved it as much as I did. “This isn’t the story of Barnum’s life, but a formulaic rags-to-riches story grafted onto the broad outlines of Barnum’s career as a circus entrepreneur (RottenTomatoes).” This shows that some people thought that this movie was just like Barnum; a fraud. This really is the type of movie that you either really love or really hate.
The Greatest Showman starts out when Phineas Taylor Barnum, or P.T Barnum as he would call himself, was a child. What the producers were really trying to depict was his backstory. They are trying to build us up to where we would really start his story. Phineas’ family consisted of just his dad and himself. They were the type of family that struggled to make ends meet. His dad was a tailor. He tailored clothes for some of the wealthiest people in town. This is where Phineas met who would be wife in the future, Charity Hallett. As time went on in the backstory, Phineas’ dad ends up passing away leaving him family-less and also homeless. While living on the streets he found an opportunity to go work on the railroad. After he follows that opportunity we are brought into his current life. His backstory really built onto the fact that he struggled a lot as a child to get to where he was that day. Even though he still had not found success, he was proud to be where he was currently.
P.T Barnum and Charity are married, have two kids, and are struggling to makes ends meet. Charity stays home with the kids while Barnum works to bring the bread home. This depicts what life was like for the families back in the 1860’s. The women would stay home and take care of the kids while the men would go to work to bring the income in for the family. I feel the producers and writers really portrayed what life was like back then.
When it cuts to the scene when Barnum was working, he is getting ready to lose his job. Not knowing that he was going to lose his job, he goes to propose an idea to his boss. That is when his boss tells everyone that all of their assets sunk to the bottom of the South China sea and they were all laid off indefinitely. As he was packing his suitcase he snuck in a sheet. The sheet was the details of their assets. He uses these to get a loan at the bank. Unknown to the bank, those assets were worth nothing. While at the bank, he had seen a mother with her ground adult son, whom was a little person which lit a little spark in Barnum’s mind, but he wasn’t sure what the spark was for at first. His actions at the bank are the first to show us what kind of Barnum is, a fraud. Yes, this does give off a bad look on the character in our eyes, but it also builds on his character as the movie goes on. We can’t jump to conclusions to fast.
With the money he received from the bank, Barnum bought the museum of morbid curiositeis. Without the help from his daughter, Barnum may have never made it. When he came home from working the museum one night, she gave him the idea of real entertainment. The spark came back to him. He went on a search for the most unique people he could find. Through searching himself and holding an open call he found his livelihood. He found the bearded lady with the vocals of an angel, the little man from the bank who wanted to be a general, the tattoo man and a few others. “This was the moment when ignored people are for the first time really seen (O’Malley).” He brought out the people that weren’t liked or made fun of their whole lives for people to come watch. All of these people were apprehensive about doing the show at first, but once they came out, were surprised and amazed by how the crows reacted.
Even though Barnum was a fraud, people still enjoyed the show he put on. He put on the show and made it seem like he was putting all these people before himself, but in true reality was all about the money. He did not care what he gave to the bank did not have any worth and some of his acts were a lie. For example, there is two cases in this movie that really show what Barnum was about. The first being when he bought the house down that way from Charities parents’ house. And when he rubbed his success with Jenny Lind. He was all about shoving his success down her parent’s throat because of the way they treated him in the past. “It’s something of a win-win, as these outcasts get to reclaim a measure of pride, Barnum gets to thumb his nose at the people who said he’d never amount to anything (Ehrlich).” He was more worried about rubbing his success in, rather than how this all made his acts feel or even his own family.
Even though Barnum wasn’t about the people when the whole thing started, he made the turn around. He wanted to focus on his family and watch his girls grow up. Just because he put on a fraud show does not make this a bad movie. I feel that all the elements combined together make a great story line and kept the story interesting as it went along. I did not want to take my eyes off the screen because I was so interested in the movie and every time my interest would start to go down, something else would bring it back up. I thought being hoodwinked was a pleasurable experience, will you?
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