So You’re Confused About the Success of The Greatest Showman?
Many critics and regular moviegoers are wondering what is the big draw for The Greatest Showman and why are people flocking to the theaters for multiple viewings? What is it about The Greatest Showman that is inspiring audiences everywhere to attend, not only regular screenings but sing-a-longs? After my third viewing yesterday, I’ve decided to try to articulate why The Greatest Showman is seeing such huge success.
Fun for the Family
While Disney owns the family film market in many ways, there is lack of films for preteens/ younger teens and parents to see. They straddle halfway between children’s movies like Beauty and the Beast and a “family” comedy like Sony’s Jumanji. With Jumanji having the comedy that many parents wouldn’t deem appropriate for their 13-year-old to see, The Greatest Showman is a wholesome story that can be seen by many ages and can inspire a conversation about acceptance while offering many opportunities for teachable moments. Sorry, Kevin Hart.
While the main characters in the story are two white males, what the film does embrace is the idea of “otherness,” and speaks to those in that group. The Greatest Showman takes people who have been ridiculed, beaten down and who never quite fit in and gives them a place to shine. This translates to an audience of people who have never felt like they belong and keeps them coming back to see that uniqueness celebrated time after time.
Music Speaks Volumes
There’s a beautiful thing that happens when words aren’t enough, and we search to find a more profound expression of emotion, and that is music. While the lyrics in the film are both enchanting and inspirational, adding the swelling orchestra and perfectly composed rhythms, The Greatest Showman speaks to the audience on the level that is both spiritual and completely otherworldly. Musicals are spectacular because they combined sight, sound, and emotion in a way that is both infectious and emotionally riveting. You can’t quite put into words the emotional pull that “This Is Me” gives an audience member, and that is the magic of music.
Let’s Be Honest: the World Kind of Sucks Right Now
Films have always served as a chance to escape the world around us and dive into another. The Greatest Showman is transporting audiences to a place where the politics of today aren’t bombarding us at every turn and allows the viewer to dream again.
Keeping the Dream Alive
P.T. Barnum’s story (although not 100% factual in this film) gives the dreamers a chance to realize that their dreams are possible and that their passions are not wasted. Moreso, with so many people aspiring to be actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, etc., The Greatest Showman demonstrates that it is possible. There are still people working very hard to make these fantastical film productions. You don’t see such a production like this one in many films nowadays, and that in itself is a beautiful thing.