Personal Review and Reflection on 'The Greatest Showman' Movie

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About this sample


Words: 759 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Apr 17, 2023

Words: 759|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Apr 17, 2023

Everyone loves a good musical movie. The only movie that can get my tears flowing every time I watch it is Moulin Rouge. The marketing strategy of the Greatest Showman got me to roll my eyes a few times when all through the campaign team attempts was focused on turning P.T. Barun into this sympathetic figure. I have to admit that by the time I was sunk deep in many seat I was reluctantly excited. The year has been filled with its ups and downs and therefore who wouldn’t want to get the tiniest bi of escape into a gleeful song and dance that last for 90 minutes? Five minutes into the movie the optimism I had soured into overall confusion and distaste. Instead of committing to telling the story on the actual complex anti-hero, or just swinging for the fences, the film; “The Greatest Showman” committed to pulling itself with every opportunity. This resulted in the recreation of something like Kidz Bop Baz Luhrmann; a Disney channel movie so focused on sanitizing the reality with mediocre lyrics about aiming for and reaching the stars.

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It goes down in history that P.T. Barnum started his career as a showman. He literally bought an old slave woman called Joice Heth who was partially paralyzed and blind. He was recorded to saying that she was 160 years old and had served as George Washington’s nurse. He then went ahead to showcase her to the public eye until she died. For me it is totally understandable why you as a director would like to skip the enslavement of an elderly woman in your film. However, the actual stories of the characters being played that were decided to be included in the film are not any better and so far from reality.

In actual events, Barnum started parading his bearded lady when she was actually nine months old as “the infant Esau”. Charles Stratton or better known as “General Tom Thumb” started being enlisted when he was only 4years. The film did not just go out of its way to flat out ignore his racist nature but also his abusive nature according to the real biography. P.T. Barum was out rightly known as a temperance speaker. He spent most of the 1850s touring the country and making money preaching about the evils caused by alcohol. The life of the real Barnum was totally intriguing and complex enough to warrant a movie remake. The one major misstep the director makes with the fictional Barnum is when he is caught up in an attempt to attain acceptance from the upper class. The moment he is offered a path to attaining mainstream success he casts away the “freaks” that initially made him who he was. He is comes out to the viewer as someone who forgets about his real friends ones they taste success. This is not even complexity. This is like the climax of a Hannah Montana movie.

In my honest opinion, “The Greatest Showman” is a collection of wholesome conventional movie-lite squareness. This is mainly because of the way the film struggles do much into turning P.T. Barnum’s circus of human oddities into some freak show procession of political identity. The way they are made to appear standing tall in claiming their pride and dignity is religious and emotional 21st century mistiming. He movie goes ahead to whitewash Barnum himself. It portrays someone who was an exploitative profiteer as an ideal grinning maestro with a dream.

By the time it was the 19th century, P.T. Barnum had already established a name as the most famous freak show peddler. The abuse that the minorities, the ostracized and the disabled went through all in the name of entertaining looky-loos with ‘oddities.’ in the mega uplifting music extravaganza he termed ‘the greatest Showman’ is not depicted in the film.

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Most parts of this film directed by Michael Gracey is hollow. For most parts it is barely incomprehensible and goes a long way to white wash all the disgusting parts of P.T.Barnums life. The film was softened too much to be palatable to the audience. The movie has a very excellent supporting cast but the director did not give them too much to do apart from singing and dancing. A lot more would have been done to make this film a reflection of the historical reality.


  • Brown, Stephen, and Christopher Hackley. 'The greatest showman on earth: is Simon Cowell PT Barnum reborn?.' Journal of Historical Research in Marketing 4.2 (2012): 290-308.
  • Kunhardt, Philip B., and Peter W. Kunhardt. PT Barnum: America's Greatest Showman. Alfred a Knopf Incorporated, 1995.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Personal Review and Reflection on ‘The Greatest Showman’ Movie. (2023, April 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“Personal Review and Reflection on ‘The Greatest Showman’ Movie.” GradesFixer, 17 Apr. 2023,
Personal Review and Reflection on ‘The Greatest Showman’ Movie. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Personal Review and Reflection on ‘The Greatest Showman’ Movie [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Apr 17 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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