The Year’s Best Show(man)


Alexis Santoro, Managing Editor, Current News Editor

“The Greatest Showman,” a movie musical released on Dec. 8, is loosely based on the story of Phineas T. Barnum. The film details the life of Barnum from his humble beginnings to the his success as founder of a critically acclaimed circus, which would later be known as Barnum and Bailey’s. “The Greatest Showman” has seen immediate success in winning three awards, including The Artios award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting , The Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and the Truly Moving Picture Award from the Heartland Film Festival, and bringing in roughly 200 million dollars in the box office.

The movie touches on many different societal issues, one being conformity. Each of the characters in the circus have unique qualities that they were so ashamed of that they spent their entire lives hiding. The circus became a place where differences were not only accepted, but welcomed. Once looked down upon by society, these individuals were able to find a place in which they were finally able to embrace who they are. The movie displays the theme that no one is ever alone, and regardless of physical qualities, everyone has a place to fit in without having to tailor themselves to the “norm” of the world around them.

“The Greatest Showman” also shows the dangers of becoming consumed with greed and fortune. After his first, unconventional show was a success, Barnum aspired to reach the more sophisticated higher class. He then went on tour with world-renowned opera singer Jenny Lind. Barnum saw immediate success, but was constantly chasing more money, forgetting why he was in show-business to begin with. The song “From Now On,” performed by Hugh Jackman and the cast, illustrates Barnum’s journey and highlights his realization that there is more to life than money.

The film has also received praise for its soundtrack, written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, writers of the highly acclaimed “Dear Evan Hansen” soundtrack. Each song from the movie provides another emotional experience for viewers that helps them to understand the thoughts and feelings of each of the characters. The award winning song “This is Me” is just one example as it identifies with listeners who have ever felt like outcasts and shares that they should not be ashamed of who they are.

This movie provides readers with the dramatic and emotional experience of the life of Phineas T.  Barnum on his path to receiving the title of the greatest showman. In detailing the experiences of characters of all walks of life, everyone can identify with the issues addressed in this movie from societal standards to greed, while being captivated by the performances of the cast.