There’s only one way to say it. The Greatest Showman is a Disneyfied depiction of P.T. Barnum’s founding of the Greatest Show on Earth. You’d probably love it if you aren’t fussy about historical accuracy.
The Greatest Showman Synopsis
A musical depiction of the triumphs and tribulations of P.T. Barnum, one of the founders of the legendary Barnum & Bailey Circus. The movie follows Barnum as he struggles to rise above poverty as a tailor’s son, to his gathering of “freaks” for his first museum, and eventually his success as ringmaster of the Greatest Show on Earth.
I’d say this first. I remain undecided about The Greatest Showman. On one hand, I enjoyed the exuberant music pieces and the lavish periodic backdrops. The choreography was also splendid and often exhilarating.
On the other hand, this entire movie is only exuberant because it sanitised the life and personality of P.T. Barnum. There was no mention of his involvement in politics. There was also not a hint of how this was a man who didn’t hesitate to exploit less fortunate human beings for his own gain. Have I mentioned Barnum was a master of hoaxes too?
Now, I’m not a stickler for historical accuracy in movies. Plus, The Greatest Showman was intended as festive season entertainment; I know. I just feel that the movie was too sugary for its own good. Coming out from the cinema, I had this weird feeling that the story was so desperate to hide certain things, and voilà! A simple search on Wikipedia immediately reveals what the skeletons are. Again, I don’t insist on historical or factual accuracy in entertainment, and the wiki itself states Barnum was mostly forgiven by critics by the time of his death. Still, a little less sanitisation would have added a world of depth to the tale. Enrich the screen personality of Barnum as well. After all, who goes to circuses only to see clowns? Do you?
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