Those of you whom I know outside of the blogging world who follow my personal Twitter may have noted my obsession with the movie, The Greatest Showman. I saw it five times in total at the cinema and after the second time, my friends began to ask why I had fallen so in love with the movie.
DISCLAIMER: I am aware that the real P.T. Barnum was an awful person and demonstrated the opposite of acceptance or diversity. You can read more about the truth behind the circus here, as this isn’t what my post is about! I know that the P.T. Barnum in the movie is a highly-fictionalised version of the real man, and I do not endorse what he did but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the film. After all, it’s made a lot of people happy and as Hugh Jackman says in the film, “Do these smiles seem fake? It doesn’t matter where they come from. The joy is real.”
The concept of going to the cinema and enjoying a world so opposed to your own for a couple of hours is one of life’s blessings, and as soon as the movie began I already knew it was going to be something special. Instead of gushing about my love for the movie (as we’d be here all day), I thought I’d narrow it down to just three reasons.
Although the P.T. Barnum that once existed cannot be described as a champion of diversity, the fictional version can. The cast of Barnum’s circus is a lot more representative, in my opinion, of our world’s population. Representation is such an important part of empowering people to live their best lives and achieve their goals. It was also incredibly refreshing to watch a movie that had more than one person of colour. Being able to see someone that looks like you in a mainstream movie is so important. For me, as a plus size girl, seeing Lettie Lutz as a plus size character in a leading role meant so much. She’s celebrated, included and seen for who she is rather than what she looks like.
Championing of Outcasts
The first point leads me on to this. I’m not a fan of the word outcasts but in the context of the movie, it describes the members of Barnum’s circus. Each of them was rejected by wider society: General Tom Thumb for his height, Lettie Lutz for her beard and Anne and W.D Wheeler for the colour of their skin. The film highlights the value and importance of every human regardless and fights for tolerance and acceptance of everyone. In particular, This Is Me from the movie’s soundtrack reiterates the message that everyone should be proud of who they are and shouldn’t have to hide away. That scene has me in tears every time!
As well as the incredibly important social commentary that the film emphasises throughout, the soundtrack is incredible. You would think someone would get fed up of listening to the same songs on repeat but I definitely haven’t. It’s a great album to have on when you’re driving along by yourself! The messages in the songs are also worth mentioning, not just in This Is Me, but also in Come Alive, for example, where it mentions you should be afraid to show your face.
All in all, for me the film is about championing acceptance, love and human compassion. It is about appreciating the value of every person, regardless of the background noise from an intolerant society, and empowering each and every person to be the best versions of themselves. The real message I took from the film is that it’s okay to be myself because there will always be people who will love and accept you for being yourself. After all, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else”.
Thank you for reading lovelies! I hope you can now see why I’m still so in love with the film, and why it’s more than just a film for me.
(Some of the images used in this are not my own. A link to the source I took them from is below each image. All have been used under Section 30(1) of the Copyright Designs and Patent Act 1988, which states that I can use the material to demonstrate my points in this review. You can read this here.)
Have a beautiful day,