Why “The Greatest Showman” is the Greatest Show

Today, The Greatest Showman is released for digital download, after spending months with theaters full of avid fans.

It comes out on DVD/Blu-RAY in another few weeks.

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Personally, I have seen The Greatest Showman six times in the theater. SIX TIMES! I have never seen a movie even half that many times in the theater. I don’t even go to the movies that often. In fact, it’s an odd year for me to go to more than two in a single year.

But this was so worth it.

I kept finding new people who hadn’t seen it, and I’d take them so I could fall in love with the movie all over again. One time, I took my 19yo daughter back (for the third time) just because she’d missed the opening scene on her second time. And you CAN’T miss the opening scene.

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Two weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take the rest of the kids–again–because we’d listened to the soundtrack so many times. We went on a Saturday morning, 11am, almost three months after the release of the movie. So I didn’t think we needed to arrive early to get tickets.

We nearly lost out. We got the last four tickets. We couldn’t even sit together. The person in line after us was out of luck.

Sold out.

Three months after the movie’s release.

On a Saturday morning.

And when the movie finished, the audience clapped.

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How many Oscars did this successful, magical, popular film win?

A big fat ZERO.

Which proves what we all know: that Hollywood is clueless.

But the author/composer in me can’t stop analyzing why this movie is such a success. So here are some of the reasons I think it’s a smash hit.

(While pictures are great, they just don’t do this movie justice, so I’ve added some awesome Greatest Showman GIFs.)

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Why The Greatest Showman is the greatest show:

 

The Music

It’s absolutely phenomenal. It moves you–quite literally if you’re prone to dancing. It gets your heart pumping, and makes you smile.

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The Story

Following your dreams can lead to big, wonderful things. Outcasts can and should be loved. They can find their place and no longer be seen as odd, but amazing. Even P.T. Barnum isn’t labeled as an outcast in the movie, but technically he started out as one.

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The Music

Yes, I’m mentioning the music again. It’s that good.

The performances. The choreography. The integration of the music with the scenes (the hammering, the horses step to the music). I bought the soundtrack before I’d left the theater parking lot the first time. (The “Reach for the Stars” and “The Other Side” scenes are my personal favs.)

Listen to the soundtrack here:

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The Family Friendliness

I think the biggest part of its success is how family friendly this movie is. It’s PG, and not even a fake PG. It’s actually PG.

Critics can’t figure out how this movie has spread by word of mouth. Honestly, I only saw it in January after several of my friends kept posting about it on Facebook. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gone. As I mentioned before, I’m not a huge movie theater person. Now, I can’t get enough people to go see it. Young. Old. It’s for everyone.

Not only is there no sex, as well as minimal swearing and violence, but families are seen in a positive light. Shocking, right? A dad trying to support his family. A mom trying to support him. Cute kids who contribute to his magical ideas. Struggles, both financial and emotional. While I don’t know a single family involved in a circus, this movie has related to millions of people across the globe.

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And it has two very sweet romances. :)

My 10yo son who hates watching movies (especially movies I like) has fallen in love with this movie as much as I have. He was furious this week when I took his grandparents without him (during school). They loved it, too.

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No Politics

This is another huge part, I think, of its success. There wasn’t a single bit of politics in the whole thing. No social statements. No agendas. Nothing about destroying the environment or gun violence or crooked politicians. We’re all sick to death of news and politics–or at least I am. Two straight years of ugliness, and this was a desperately-needed breath of fresh air!

A happy ending for everyone. Hallelujah! (I’m looking at you La-La Land.)

This world can use A LOT more happy.

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It’s Magical

That’s what it boils down to. The combination of everything makes the story, music, and movie as magical as the circus.

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So . . .

If you haven’t seen it, GO SEE IT!

Buy it.

Get the soundtrack.

And fall in love.

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What do you think of The Greatest Showman? If you love it, why? And how many times have you seen it?

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8 thoughts on “Why “The Greatest Showman” is the Greatest Show

  1. Yes, I agree! I hardly ever go watch movies, but I kept begging my husband to take me. When I finally got to see it, just recently, the movie theater was full, which surprised me. And the music just sank into my soul. The choreography was gorgeous, and incredible! It truly was the greatest show. I can’t wait to get it on DVD.

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  2. I wish we lived closer- I would have been your viewing partner!!!

    We saw it the first time for my birthday movie in December (we saw La La Land last year which I also loved, but for completely different reasons). The only thing that jarred me in the movie the first time was the fact that they spoke of Jenny Lind as an opera singer and when she sang “Never Enough” it was not opera as I expected and that distracted me from enjoying that particular song. (But only the first time I saw it!)

    It was such a moving, thrilling, show and I found myself trying to figure out how long it would be before it moved to Broadway, or became available for High Schools across the country to perform in their school auditoriums. I could envision desperate High School girls vying for the part of the bearded lady (?!) so they could get up on that stage and plantively belt out “This Is Me” (never as good as Keala Settle, of course) in front of all their loved ones, causing tears and a standing ovation. It has a true ensemble cast that would lend itself to really showcase a variety of students.

    After I bought the soundtrack (finding that I didn’t skip ANY songs when listening, which is a first) my kids (all teenagers) then started begging to see the movie. We all went, with my youngest saying, “This is going to be the best movie EVER!” on the way to the theater. And he saw it, and it was.

    Never mind the duel use of “This Is the Greatest Show” as the bookends of the movie to help is know that dreams really do come true.
    Never mind the sweetest love stories in a movie, ever! (Both of them- secret childhood sweethearts and the forbidden, at the time, interracial one. They have to overcome quite a bit to work and they stick with it.
    Never mind the amazing values- even if you start down the wrong path but choose the right thing in the end, there are still consequences- however, you CAN change and be forgiven!
    Never mind the sweet family relationships and the value that is placed on them (why doesn’t anyone talk about the amazing Michelle Williams?!).
    Never mind the support and inclusivity given to all the circus characters and how they stand together against hate.
    The first reason to see this show is the music. The music in this movie puts all these things together in a way that truly moves and thrills any viewer.
    The second reason is that the acting was superb, from the over the top circus characters who you grew to adore, to the ambitious Barnum, to the poor little rich boy (played by a clearly underrated Zac Ephron), to the dazzling Anne (Zandaya), and the peaceful, sweet, supportive, but-not-a-pushover Charity Barnum. (Every detail from her dancing to her response to being knocked into by her daughter during “Come Alive” was startling sweet!)

    I am so happy that we have been able to have more movie musicals coming out these past few years, and even more excited about the prospect of seeing what these composers put out next. (We already owned La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen- my youngest was obsessed with “Waving Through a Window” before we saw this one).

    Thanks for letting me share my love!

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    1. I also loved the fact that in the circus not everything was real, and they echoed that by lipsyncing two major songs- “A Million Dreams” (the boy we saw in the film was not the singer) as well as “Never Enough”. (I am such a nerd.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You totally articulated exactly what I was trying to say. I’m also loving all these musicals! La La Land was great (but the ending totally missed the mark). I hope they keep stuff like this coming, because I’m excited about movies like I never have been!

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  3. We’ve been lurking around The Greatest Showman, as a family, on YouTube. We have the music memorized and still have not seen the movie. Confession: I don’t trust the opinions of my friends. I am so tired of being disappointed at the theater that I’ve stopped going to movies. (I’m a first generation Star Wars geek who memorized the original 3 movies word for word. I finally saw the latest one last week – and literally fell asleep. “Cinematically Disappointed” is a gross understatement.) So yesterday when I saw the headline of your blog post, I got my hopes up. This morning I ordered the disks and, even though it got terrible reviews, the piano music. ALL BECAUSE OF YOUR HEADLINE. Now that I’ve actually read the blog, I’m really excited! Thanks for being specific – you addressed all my concerns and restored my faith in humanity. Also, I love Hugh Jackman and really WANTED it to be this good!

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