Crowds cheer in the bleachers. What will come, they cannot say. Dazzling lights fill the room and trapeze artists swing from thin bars dozens of feet above the ground. Fire breathers, dancers, and animal trainers alike gather in the center stage to host what will be the most memorable show of a lifetime. The Ringling Brothers Circus has been amazing fans and defying the impossible since its original opening in 1871. Ever since, the circus has presenting fans with a show they will never forget. The film, The Greatest Showman, transports fans back to the time of P.T. Barnum (portrayed by Hugh Jackman), a struggling business man in the heart of Manhattan, trying to make a living after coming from a harsh life. His father, also struggling to find money and pay the bills after his wife’s passing, worked as a tailor for the rich and the wealthy. After all his years in poverty, and later his father’s own death, Barnum needed to find a way to make money, and fast.
In the film, The Greatest Showman, filmmakers take fans both young and old alike through the struggles and the successes of P.T. Barnum. In the film, Barnum faces the struggles of reality and the harshness of opinion. After his failure with the opening of Barnum’s American Museum, a museum filled with unique pieces and people from around the world, he turned to the circus. In this time era, the circus was an extremely new idea that had been tried little in the past because of its small opportunity for profit. But unlike these shows, Barnum looked for the unique, the bold, and the fearless. In his quest he was able to find people shunned from society for their oddities, to help show the world that they truly weren’t that different at all. In the making of his show, he traveled all over the country to find people to make his show a success. But it wasn’t yet as glamorous as it sounded.
As with every new thing or idea that comes to mind, there are always critics. In the film, producers made mention to include many of those types of people, to give fans a true insight to the challenges that Barnum faced to make his dream a reality. One of these challenges, presented at several different times in the movie, were critics from the town newspaper. Mr. James Gordon Bennett (portrayed by Paul Sparks), a writer in the city magazine, criticizes the show, claiming it to be a disgrace to the show business and refers to it as almost a circus of freaks and misfits. Producers were extremely accurate with this inclusion, using it to signify Barnum’s incredible ability to turn negativity into positivity in the blink of an eye. Using part of the review, he from then on refers to his show as the circus, saying it, “has a nice ring to it” (P.T. Barnum). Another aspect that the producers of The Greatest Showman hit upon was not just the critics, they including the criticism of the people as well. All throughout American history, the people have always had the ability to speak freely if they so choose. When producers including this aspect of the film, they were not only covering that topic, they were also showing how opinion hurts.
Despite all the hardships that Barnum had to face to get his show off the ground, he also has magnificent success. In an honor presented to him by Phillip Carlyle (portrayed by Zac Efron), a mutual friend of Mr. Barnum’s throughout his life, he was able to present his show to Queen Victoria (portrayed by Gayle Rankin). An honor that very few have the pleasure of actually accepting throughout their lifetime, especially those living in America, rather than in Europe. The filmmaker’s inclusion of this scene in the movie allowed for viewers to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to see how hard work really does pay off in the end. The film itself also include beautiful and breath-taking music from the same musicians who worked on the film La La Land. The music included in the film were wonderfully done transitions and help convey the feels that the producers were hoping for. The film, The Greatest Showman, was an instant crowd-pleaser for young and old alike, and will be remembered after the closure of the Ringling Bros. Circus in May, 2017.