Movie: The Greatest Showman

A friend invited me to go see The Greatest Showman, and I knew nothing about it except that it was about Barnum and/or Bailey, so I figured it was a pretty safe bet: if nothing else, there would be good circus scenes. Things I didn’t realize until I arrived at the theater:

1. It’s a musical
2. Hugh Jackman is in it
3. My friend had already seen it: she invited me right after seeing it the first time. Like, from the parking lot.

I liked it. As expected, there were good circus scenes. There were also some good big musical numbers with lots of stuff happening: trapeze artists! lions! flames! stomping! clapping! And there were a couple sweet songs. And two good power ballads. I would be happy to see it again. And I might end up doing so: as the credits rolled, my friend said, “Same time tomorrow?” It was a good one to see in the theater, because of all the big/colorful/loud scenes.

I would like to see more movies. It’s an activity that ties in beautifully with my dabbling goals. For example, since seeing The Greatest Showman I have:

1. Asked Alexa to play me the soundtrack while I made dinner
2. Looked up the actress who plays Jenny Lind (I still don’t know why she seems familiar)
3. Looked up the singer who sings Never Enough (Loren Allred)
4. Thought of the song Never Enough reminds me of (Already Gone, by Kelly Clarkson) and listened to it
5. Looked up the actress/singer who plays Anne Wheeler (Zendaya)
6. Felt interested in finding out why this story about Barnum doesn’t mention Bailey
7. Thought about how glad I was that what seemed like [spoiler] was actually [spoiler]
8. Felt interested in learning more about Jenny Lind

It gives me renewed Interest in Things. It’s a good way to counteract January.

25 thoughts on “Movie: The Greatest Showman

  1. Kirsty

    My 13yo daughter and I dragged ourselves out of the house on an utterly dismal, rainy night last Friday to see this and LOVED it. Rainy night? Who cares? I admit, I’m a sucker for musicals. And Hugh Jackman is very pleasing on the eye. I, too, have heard that the real Barnum wasn’t a particularly nice person but I’m not going to let that stop me enjoying the film – it never claims to be an accurate biopic. It’s a perfect feelgood film, and yes, the ideal antidote to the crappiness that is January in general, and this one in particular. We’ve been singing the songs non-stop ever since (oh, and my daughter’s been a Zendaya fan since she used to watch Disney TV, and a Zac Efron fan since his High School Musical/ Hairspray days).

    1. Shawna

      I’m with you on this. There is lot of outrage over how Barnum was an ass and treated people very poorly and this will make people think he was a swell guy, but I have no intention of letting this stop me from enjoying what is clearly meant to be a feel-good movie.

  2. Chris

    I have seen it twice so far, but wish I could go back to see it every day! I have a friend who had seen it 6 times! My favorite movie in a really, really long time.

  3. el-e-e

    I could NOT stop the tears at the end of this movie for some reason. I was expecting to like it, but not to be so MOVED by it. (and I just watched that video that Heather R linked to, and I’m all teary again!) I love that my 9-yo is belting out the soundtrack every chance she gets. It’s really a great show.

  4. A

    I caught your reference to Alexa in there. How do you feel about it? My husband got one as a free “congratulations” thing from work, and is being all sad-my-wife-has-a-flaw because I find it profoundly off-putting and won’t have it in the kitchen. It raises my hackles. I don’t know if hearing from someone who likes it well enough would help, but thought I’d ask. (Footnote: my husband’s reaction to this is bugging me, as well. Suspect you can’t help with that, but it warrants saying!)

    1. Swistle Post author

      So! I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I keep hearing about the potential privacy risks of having this kind of thing in the home. And sometimes I get very annoyed that there is no way to input text: like, if I have said “Alexa, play INXS” in TWENTY DIFFERENT WAYS and she still keeps saying, “Sorry, I can’t find anything by In Texas” or “Here’s a station you might like: S*x Access,” I get a little frustrated. Really, even a tiny phone-type keyboard would be useful for those times when I just can’t get her to understand me.

      Also, I hate hate HATE when the children play with her, trying to make her say dumb things or answer dumb questions. I know she’s theoretically without feelings, but I still hate to hear them doing it.

      On the other hand, I now love her so much I have a Dot (a mini Alexa) in another room as well, and wish there were such a thing as an Alexa GPS for the car. In the morning I say, “Alexa, what’s the news?” and she gives me a several-minute non-overwhelming summary. Afterward I might say, “Alexa, tell me more about Angela Merkel” or whatever I didn’t understand on the news. Then I say, “Alexa, play Never Enough,” and she does. And then I ask her to play several other songs I want to hear, or I might say “Play Peter Cetera radio” and she’ll play songs of that type/style, or I’ll say “Play songs by Peter Cetera” and she’ll shuffle an assortment of just Peter Cetera songs, and then I ask her to set a timer for ten minutes, and then I ask her to play Rob’s college radio station, and then I ask her what song this is and she tells me, and so on and so on.

      So in short: I do love her, but I also see the downsides.

      1. Tracy

        Since you mention Rob’s college radio station…

        Are we going to get a post about what it was like having a college freshmen back home for the holidays for 3-4 weeks? Inquiring minds want to know!

        I really liked the music from The Greatest Showman! I feel the film did portray Barnum as kind of shady. I kept wondering about when he and Bailey joined forces too. Maybe a sequel will tell us?!

      2. Phancymama

        We got an Alexa and a dot for Christmas, and I would love a post on this where I could read lots of comments from other people! I also find myself wishing for Alexa in the car. And I feel like my feelings run from “incredibly useful” to “I forget it’s there” and I have the feeling I’m missing some of the tricks and tips. (For instance I ask about the weather but not the news!)

  5. Lauren

    Are you a Philippa Gregory fan? Or a Showtime fan? Rebecca Ferguson played the titular role (Elizabeth Woodville) in “The White Queen” miniseries (and I thought she was FAB).

  6. M.Amanda

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I like to think I have a good eye for spotting familiar actors. When I googled “The Greatest Showman cast,” the pictures popped up across the top of the screen. I just looked for Jenny Lind and not the actors’ names. My immediate reaction was, “Oh, that’s Rebecca Hall from the Iron Man movie and The Town. She’s been in lots of movies, but mostly in small parts.” Then I saw the name and realized this is the second time this month I’ve mistaken Rebecca Ferguson for Rebecca Hall, so… Also, I think she looks a bit like Michelle Monaghan. I will say I have not seen anything Rebecca Ferguson has been in, but she looks so familiar to me. It’s probably the Rebecca Hall thing for me, though.

  7. Allison

    I went to see the movie because my daughter wanted to, not because I really wanted to, and my friend who ‘hates’ musicals came with us because her daughter wanted to see it too. We all completely loved it, and I’m not even sure exactly why. I actually did come home and look up times this week when I could go see it again. I know it completely rewrote history, it was kind of unsubtle, but man, it was so magnificently cheesy. The trapeze love duet between Zac Efron and Zendaya was like High School Musical – Circus Version, which seemed like the thing I never even knew I needed until I got it.

    1. Lise

      I so looked forward to seeing it because I’m a big fan of musicals in general, and Pasek and Paul in particular. Also period films, great choreography, Hugh Jackman, and feel-good stories. I saw it with my four daughters and we nudged each other and rolled our eyes and whispered outraged opinions to one another throughout. (The costume design that veered wildly between, not just decades, but centuries, within the same scene. The modern hair and makeup with period clothes. The bad CGI. The extreme over-use of auto-tune, even of trained professional vocalists. The utter lapses in logic. And on and on.) And yet…I liked it and want to see it again. I blame Hugh Jackman.

    1. Swistle Post author

      **** MILD SPOILERS ALERT: Just the Parental-Guide Level of spoilers***** It’s hard to say for sure because I didn’t watch it with that in mind and kids vary so much—but definitely my youngest (ten years old) could see it, and I told my sister-in-law that I thought probably her six- and eight-year-old could see it. There’s one scene where a child is hit hard in the face, but it’s quick. There’s a fire scene, and we see someone who is unconscious and has some injuries. There are some angry mobs. But no sex, no nudity, no swearing that I remember (though there is the kind of bad language where, for example, people are called “freaks”). It seemed like about the same levels of violence/scariness as a Disney/Pixar movie.

  8. kim

    My daughter recognized the Jenny Lind as the same actress who was in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. I would never have guessed it was the same one woman. She’s very versatile!


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