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‘The Greatest Showman’ celebrates love and self-love

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Directed by Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman, gives a new perspective on an American historical musical. The musical follows the life of P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), as he tries to make a living for himself, his family, and childhood love, Charity (Michelle Ingrid). Coming from a perverse childhood full of rejection and sadness, Barnum leaves New York to better his life, later comes back, and becomes a worldwide phenomenon with his circus.

The movie conveys many positive messages that support the idea of being willing to make choices that will make you happy regardless of what others think. At the start of the film Barnum and his family sing “A Million Years,” after he gives them the news that he is putting all of his money into reopening an old museum to make money. Throughout the song, Charity and Barnum sing about their love for each other and Charity’s willingness to support Barnum in his decision if it makes him happy.

The film shows the power of love and how it surpasses the barrier of racism. This is most significant when new love emerges in the circus between Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron), a playwright who becomes Barnum’s partner, and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), an African American trapeze artist in the circus. When Carlyle and Wheeler are seen holding hands by Carlyle’s parents, they immediately scold and judge their son for being with an African American. Carlyle stands up to them and goes after Wheeler and together they sing “Rewrite the Stars.”

Moreover, The Greatest Showman touches on themes of self-love. At first, the performers in the circus were ridiculed and hated, but as the show became successful the people began to grow a liking toward them; however, it was not until Barnum did not allow the performers to attend a dinner party due to his embarrassment of them they they had had enough. The song “This is Me” sung by a Letty Lutz (Keala Settle), a bearded lady, shows her anger and frustration toward the rejection that she and her fellow performers have faced. Her moving performance later erupts into a huge montage with all of the performers singing the song like an anthem during their show demonstrating their haters that they are no longer afraid of judgement.

The film does a good job at representing people of all different colors and sizes. The diversity in The Greatest Showman is refreshing. Other than that many races were depicted in the performers in the circus. Wheelers brother W.D. (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) was also African American and Eng (Danial Son) another performer who is Asian American.

The Greatest Showman does a good job at exuding positive messages. The songs are very powerful and moving, which gave light to the strength and passion that the performers had while singing. The moving songs and storyline following Barnum in his fame allow for a refreshing and uplifting feeling in the audience while watching the film.

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