The Review of 'The Greatest Showman': a Film About Barnum Circus

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About this sample


Words: 834 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Apr 17, 2023

Words: 834|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Apr 17, 2023

Everyone loves a good musical. From the catchy songs to the conversations that result in sudden outburst of singing and dancing, musicals are made to catch the attention of the audience through entertainment but also contain a message behind every lyric and movement. The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Michelle Williams, tells the story of a man named P.T Barnum and his journey to become “the greatest showman”. Directed by Michael Gracey, this film is made to retell the life of Barnum and how the Barnum Circus came to be while incorporating the use of music but also including scenes that display all kinds of emotions (love, anger, sadness, joy). The Greatest Showman is a remarkable film that uses its platform to show and send messages to the audience of the importance of achieving dreams, having self-love through difficulties, showing loyalty and the significance of rising up after a fall.

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Coming from a rough childhood does not stop P.T Barnum (Hugh Jackman) from pursuing his dream. When the flashback first starts, a young Barnum is shown looking at a “Showman” costume and hat. The showman hat can be seen as something symbolic, as it can represent Barnum’s dream and is something that is seen throughout the movie. It is clearly shown that Barnum grew up as part of the lower-class society with his father but ended up in the streets as an adolescent after the death of his father. As time goes by Barnum still keeps in touch with his childhood crush, Charity (Michelle Williams), and as an adult is able to marry her although Charity’s father disapproves. Although they live a simple life, Barnum desires more so he fools the bank into loaning him money to buy a building for the circus and a house for his family, thinking that this is the only way he can be happy or feel he is achieving something. Barnum is so determined to create something bigger and unique that the people closest to him see his as over-ambitious or greedy, thinking that he is putting his dream above everyone else.

Although they are constantly treated poorly, the circus acts learn throughout the movie to be happy with their differences. Through poor reviews from James Bennett to protests from people calling them “freaks”, the circus acts had to go through discrimination and bullying just for being part of the circus. It is demonstrated that the protests keep increasing, with more and more people joining, becoming more violent each time. Nevertheless, the circus performers continue presenting shows, demonstrating that they won’t back down or feel intimidated by the protesters. Although they are able to stand their ground under pressure, they feel the need for their voices to be heard. It is self-evident that the circus performers are tired of being treated the way they are, stating that they are not “not scared to be seen” and “make no apologies” for being the way they are.

Through hardships and misunderstandings, faithfulness remains a big component of the movie from beginning to end. In the midst of trying to create something extraordinary, Barnum tries to get his self-image to be bigger than everyone else’s and wants everything to benefit him. When they meet Queen Victoria, Barnum makes the circus performers wear they costume’s although they are not actually presenting a performance. In addition, once the performance of Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) is a total success, he doesn’t allow the circus people to be part of the after party, fearing that they will embarrass him in front of the higher-class people. Although Barnum makes them feel inferior multiple times, when a fire causes the circus to burn down, they tell Barnum that because of him, they are able to have a place to call home (“From now on”). In another note, even though Barnum continuously made plans without consulting his wife (like taking the loan or buying the house), she always assures him that all she wants is happiness, not wealth. Charity also tells Barnum that “You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people”, and tries to make him understand that he does not need to please everyone to get a good review about his show but instead needs people who will care and love him even if he doesn’t provide anything.

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When everything seems to come to an end, it is just the beginning of something greater. After a fight between the protesters and the circus performers that results in a fire breaking out, the Barnum Circus is destroyed and everything in it. Since Barnum fooled the bank for a loan in the beginning they did not want to give him anymore money. Just as it seemed there was nothing else to do, Carlyle (Zac Efron), offers to share his earning from the circus’ profits to rebuild the new circus. Because of Carlyle’s actions, the circus is able to continue providing shows to entertain the people in a new location and now under an open-air tent.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Review of ‘The Greatest Showman’: a Film About Barnum Circus. (2023, April 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“The Review of ‘The Greatest Showman’: a Film About Barnum Circus.” GradesFixer, 17 Apr. 2023,
The Review of ‘The Greatest Showman’: a Film About Barnum Circus. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
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