The Greatest Showman

Note: Obviously not my artwork. lol Follow Abbey Sy for more lettering goodness! I’m also trying to figure out how to embed Instagram posts without the caption. So bear with me for the meantime while I google a solution to this.

Do you have that favorite movie that you would defend with all your heart, despite its flaws and inaccuracies?

I am currently feeling that way towards The Greatest Showman.

I have been on a The Greatest Showman high since I watched it last February 1. I know it’s late, but the Philippines has this weird rule (but appreciated) that only local movies are shown for two weeks starting December 25. All the international movies that would be released within that period would have to be moved to January. That included The Greatest Showman, which opened on January 31.

Oh imagine my impatience, especially since the trailer and the full soundtrack were released sometime December last year. I had to stop listening because it wasn’t helping my impatience and I was starting to judge some of the songs with the little knowledge I had of the movie.

There was also the fear of not liking the actual movie because of all the hype it was getting. It was always a fear of mine that a movie would suck when it was getting too much promo. There were too many workshop videos, lyric videos, and teasers that I was starting to doubt all the hype. I just wanted to watch the movie as soon as possible and get all the overthinking out of the way.

Then came my time to finally watch the movie. The hype is real and I enjoyed every single moment of it.

The movie is loosly based on PT Barnum’s life and his rise to fame as a circus master. I read up on Barnum’s life to see how accurate the movie is to actual events, and boy, they really took creative liberties on the plot. It’s like the creators only picked a few people from Barnum’s actual life and the part where he sets up the circus, then created a whole new story to highlight the spirit of being a visionary.

Basically, The Greatest Showman is one big alternate universe to all things pure and precious. Deal with it critics, I’m not complaining with this version.

The movie features several themes that struck me as I was watching it.

Chasing Dreams
I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy
We can live in a world that we design
– A Million Dreams

Barnum is a visionary, a risk taker, and a creative businessman. He’s the type of boss that I want to work for because he always saw the opportunity in every situation. He had dreams and he chased them — though he went too far to the point of losing his circus and his family. He knew his business well. He knew the strengths of his talents and used it to answer the needs of his audience. He knew how to sell it. He knew how to satisfy. He lived in a world that he designed.

How to be you po? haha

Loving the Broken
‘Cause you’re just a dead man walking
Thinking that’s your only option
But you can flip the switch and brighten up your darkest day
– Come Alive

I love the line that Lettie Lutz (Bearded Lady) told Barnum where Barnum gave them a family when no one else did. While I question the real life Barnum for his intentions for setting up a museum of acts and curiosities (he really had questionable acts like the old and paralyzed slave woman), I admired the movie Barnum because he saw through the imperfections of his talents and highlighted what they were good at. Humanity should take a page from the book of Barnum because we are so quick to judge. Just because they stand out with our definition of imperfection, it doesn’t mean that we have the right to discriminate them and deem them unworthy for society. I’m not just talking about imperfections in terms of physical apperance, but also in mental ability and past experiences.

There aren’t many jobs that have openings for applicants who have autism, have height issues, or those who have a criminal past. I know some jobs require certain skill sets, but there still jobs out there that do not need a certain look or ability. I hope we as a society create more jobs that fit the strengths of the people. We have the ability to flip the switch for others, so that they can see the light and their dreams.

Wanting too much is destructive
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
– Never Enough

Barnum wanted to prove himself — to his wife Charity, Charity’s parents, and to the high society who could not welcome him into their world. While he had dreams and was able to create a world for his family, he was never content with it. He bought a mansion for his family which Charity didn’t really need then forgot about the circus to chase the opportunity with Jenny Lind. He wanted more that he began to lose those who really supported him all the way — his family and the circus.

There will always come a time in your career that you feel like you’ve reached its peak that you go looking for other dreams in other places. There’s nothing wrong with it, especially if you feel like you’re going to bloom in that career. However, you should always set a time to reevaluate your life and check what you are letting go for this new dream. Is it worth leaving behind? Have you properly set the foundation to that life project that it can stand on its own even after you leave? What legacy are you leaving as you go look for a new career?

There are things that take time, there’s no need to worry
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
– This is Me

The movie took 7 years to make. It started with an idea, a few songs, and the passion of a small group of people. I’ve watched the workshop videos online and you could see in the eyes of the people that they believed in the project. They rooted for the show to be funded and produced and it makes you want to root for their success too. Those seven years of conceptualizing, working, and refining paid off. And now we’re here and all those who have seen it are obsessed with it.

It’s the same with life. There’s no need to rush certain milestones in life. You don’t have to graduate by 20, find work within a year or two, be married by 30, have kids by 35, retire at 60. It’s your life and your own timeline. Keep steady, work hard to refining your life project, then the right time to launch it will come.

Let passion and commitment drive you forward
Impossible comes true, it’s taking over you
Oh, this is the greatest show
– The Greatest Show

For a movie like this to be successful, it has to be a collaborative effort from everyone to put on a great show. I loved the movie because the cast and crew loved it. I felt the passion in their storytelling, in their singing, and in the creation process. There was one behind the scenes clip that I watched where the whole crew burst into a thunderous applause after nailing the shot for “Come Alive” (or was it This is Me, I forget). There were hugs, handshakes, and cheers. It’s the kind of work environment that motivates you to keep on believing in the project and nothing is going to stop it from being shown in the theaters.

If you haven’t seen the movie, please do find the time. I swear Hugh Jackman will lift your spirits up, Keala Settle (KEALA IS KWEEN) will empower you, Michelle Williams will make you believe, and Zendaya and Zac Efron will put hope in your heart.

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