Review, Reviews

Listen to the Lyrics

Now that some time has passed I feel more inclined and open to discuss the lyrics of The Greatest Showman. You can read my original review of the movie here.

**********This Post DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS*********

The music of The Greatest Showman is half of its beauty! Yes the movie is wonderful, the plot is strong, and the characters are fantastic, but it is the music that people are most drawn to. Now, I cannot discuss every song in minute detail, otherwise you would all probably click away from this screen in seconds. So let’s just talk about three incredible songs (trying to cut it down to three was really difficult!)

Opening Song – The Greatest Show” (<- Click to hear song)

This is one perfect example of some foreshadowing. The movie opens with a song that features stomps, claps, intense moments, and high energy. It seems like the perfect opening talking about triumph and delight. However, half way through the song we come across these words:

“It’s everything you ever want

It’s everything you ever need

And it’s here right in front of you

This is where you want to be . . .”

In the opening, the song cuts short here with just Hugh Jackman (Barnum) softly singing and repeating these lines to himself as the lights dim, the circus disappears and he is left alone in the dark. This moment foreshadows Barnum’s ultimate conundrum: choosing between his family and the circus.

“Never Enough”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQWZK5U233s

Now the majority of this song is the repetitious phrase “never enough” which makes it seem like this song is talking about how Barnum can never get enough of the spotlight, never get enough of the praise, etc. And while that may be partly true, it’s important to take another look at the lyrics that lead up to that repetitious chorus.

“You set off a dream with me

Getting louder now

Can you hear it echoing?

Take my hand

Will you share this with me

Cause darling without . . “

When we remember these lines, the song becomes more about the person that Barnum wants to share his world with (his wife). Ultimately, while he continues to grow in popularity, the further he gets from his wife, the less satisfied he is. Because without his wife, “it’ll never be enough.”

“This is Me” (You know I had to talk about this one)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV9BmH0tuH4

This song is probably the most straightforward song out of the entire movie. “This is Me” is all about accepting who you are as a person and loving yourself for it! The scene in where they storm through the mob is seriously the definition of good cinema.

Well there you have it, just three songs from a musical in which every song is a hit! What was your favorite song and what do you think of my deductions about the lyrics?

Review, Reviews

The Greatest Showman: A Review (Movie)

After hearing so much about this movie, I was intrigued. Once my student told me I needed to see it, I decided to just go.

I was not disappointed.

 

***POSSIBLE SPOILERS!***

The Premise:

The movie is a historical period drama musical staring Hugh Jackman as the famous P.T. Barnum, the instigator of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The story opens on the circus at its height with Barnum as the ring-leader. The music is entertaining, starting with a stomp chorus that gets the blood pumping. Then all of the sudden, the lights, the colors fade leaving Barnum standing alone in the dark singing “It’s everything you ever want, It’s everything you ever need . . .” (Great moment of foreshadowing!)

Cue flashback to a young boy (our young Barnum) who is the son of a poor tailor. As a boy, he accompanies his father on his jobs. On one such job for the Hallet family (rich, white, snobby, first-class, cruel father), young Barnum meets young Charity (the daughter of Mr. Hallet). Naturally the two fall in love. The young actor and actress playing Young Barnum and Young Charity do a wonderful job with the sweet song “A Million Dreams.”

Time flies through the song as children grow into adults and marry (despite her family’s objections) and end up with two children of their own. When Barnum loses his job, he is inspired by a myriad of events to open up his own museum. The Barnum Wax museum, needless to say, it does not go well. However, when he listens to his adorable daughters who convince him that he needs something “alive” in his museum, his luck begins to turn.

Image result for The Greatest Showman barnum and charity kids
Barnum and family looking at Barnum’s Wax Museum 

Barnum begins collecting people who are “curious and abnormal” including: the African-American brother/sister duo acrobats, the dog-boy, the bearded lady, the tallest man alive, the heaviest man alive, and the smallest man alive.

Image result for The Greatest Showman freaks

Barnum is a success! At last, he can afford the large mansion and ballet lessons for his eldest daughter. At last, he is accepted into society. Except… he isn’t.

His “circus” brings joy and entertainment to some, and for others it brings out anger and hate. People protest the show and Barnum is not quite satisfied . . .

But I’ll leave the rest for you to see!

My Review:

There have been mixed reviews of the musical. Rotten Tomatoes gives it an average rating of 55%, and yet, 90% of audiences LOVED IT! That should give a pretty clear message. Perhaps “professional critics” have the right to critique what they see as baseless entertainment; however, this movie was not meant to be “highbrow.” Much like Barnum in the movie who must deal with highbrow critics demeaning his work, this movie is an entertaining delight for people who want to be delighted. The movie celebrates unique individuality and cautions against extreme hubris and insatiable desire for MORE.

Some critics have said that Barnum’s success comes too quickly. I thought that at first too, until I realized that this movie is NOT about his success, it is about his failures as a man, a ring leader, and a father. It is a movie, with a subtle warning, about what happens after success!

Overall, I give it 5 out of 5 stars! 

If you love musicals, please go see this movie.