The greatest expectations

New movie becomes theater hit

photo courtesy of

Story by Misty Lopez, feature editor

“The Greatest Showman” was released Dec. 20, 2017, under the direction of Michael Gracey and writers Bill Condon and Jenny Bicks. Based on the true story of P.T. Barnum and his efforts to formulate the Barnum & Bailey Circus, the film succeeded in portraying the hardships and achievements of creating and sticking to something so different in a conformed society. Along with the outstanding storyline, talented actors and actresses such as Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Michelle Williams really sealed the show into an unforgettable American musical drama.

The film is introduced with the singing of P.T. Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman. Trailing from the present scene of him singing in the circus, a flashback is shown to the audience where we see emotional moments from Barnum’s childhood and the struggles he endured, such as being homeless. We receive moments of a forbidden childhood love as Barnum falls for Charity Hallett, played by Michelle Williams. There were so many relatable moments that most people experience, like financial needs, tough love, death and the uncertainty of what the future holds. Because of this, the film was able to toy with the audience’s feelings while also setting up for a strong connection with the movie.

As Barnum gets older, he marries Charity and has two daughters. He then starts his own museum business, which eventually turned into the search for unique people. This is where the story gets controversial for many people. Some believe that Barnum was only trying to bring joy to the lives of those in the circus and those watching, but many believe that he was a con man for exaggerating the unique qualities of the circus performers while profiting from them. I personally believe that if the performers were willing and happy doing what they did, then the money didn’t matter. It was an admirable thing that Barnum did–to team up with social outcasts and give them a sense of hope, while at the same time building their happiness and confidence.

There were so many relatable moments that most people experience, like financial needs, tough love, death and the uncertainty of what the future holds. ”

— Lopez

Of course, with a story, there’s always a main conflict. With the fame and fortune Barnum begins to accumulate, he becomes cocky and egotistical. He begins to reject his friends–the circus performers– along with his family to spend his time with Jenny Lind, played by Rebecca Ferguson, a famous English singer. It was very believable that an affair would take place at this point. Barnum becomes a selfish man, taking what he’s gained for granted as well as the people who were there for him. A scandal arises and his bank evicts him. He loses his family, and the circus goes down in flames. With no hope left, Barnum is uplifted by his friends at the circus and his partner, Phillip Carlyle, played by Zac Efron.  

Through his struggles and mistakes, Barnum eventually gets back to doing what he loves with the people he loves. I feel as though the movie was a bit gimmicky at this point with such a happy ending, but it was still a beautiful film. The movie was filled with amazing music and incredible dancing, not to mention the lessons that could be learned from it: accept those who are different, believe in yourself, be the change and anything is possible. “The Greatest Showman” was an outstanding production, a wonderful musical and a film that will not let your expectations down.