As of this writing, I have seen this movie three times. Once a week for the past three. First time I saw it alone, as the movie I wanted to see wasn’t available, I just fell in love with it. It had me going through a bunch of different emotions from the opening scene through the end credits. The music was great The story was great The acting was great. I went right from the theatre to the local Best Buy to get the CD as I didn’t want to wait to order it through Amazon. I needed to hear it again. It was playing when I picked the kids up and pretty much ever since then when the three of us are in the car. Saw it again last week (President’s Day) with the kids and then again yesterday (2/25/18). I get so wrapped up in the film and it joist really moves me and I am not 100% sure why. Or do I?
There is something about the character of Barnum. He’s a dreamer All his life wanting to make people happy. Make people smile. It seems familiar to me. It touches me on very raw level. I remember the idealist I was growing up. I wanted to entertain. I wanted to make people smile. And yes, I wanted to be the center of attention. But life swept me up and the dreams remained just that. There are a few other movies that make me feel the way this movie does. The Muppet Movie comes to mind. The struggle of a group of misfits that just want to make people happy. It wasn’t that they wanted to be accepted as normal. No, like in Greatest Showman, they want to be accepted as different. The Muppet Movie Enda with – “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending. We’ve done just what we’ve set out to do. Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.” It hits that chord in me. The entire last song of that movie is very personal to me.
Another movie, that touched me like very few do, like this and The Muppet Movie did, is Big Fish. For obvious reasons, this movie reminds me of Big Fish (the odd array of characters). That movie touched me as it was about a father dying and a son learning so much about his father and his “Fish” stories. It came out not too far after my father had passed. But again it was about individuality. Allowing yourself to be the person you are.
In essence, these movies are about a part of me. A part I’ve exposed and perhaps have never really been comfortable with. They are also images of what could have been, had I allowed myself to take a chance.
And the production is amazing. At many times during the movie you feel like you are sitting in a theatre watching a play unfold in front of you. The urge to applaud after many of the numbers is real (and in a few cases I’ve heard people applaud – makes me wonder if that’s why on more than one occasion the screen audience applause is muted to allow the theatre audience the chance).
Barnum is a cad and the movie does not make apologies for that, in many cases it underscores it. What I found interesting is that even though he is really all about himself, in the group numbers he blends into the crowd in many shots he is not in the forefront constantly. He allows his troupe to be the stars.
It gets just a tad preachy, discussing diversity without using the word, but it is so fitting for the movie. Like the Muppets, a group of outcasts who come together to be family. Like the friends of the father in Big Fish.
It’s an emotional roller coaster for me. I feel the butterflies in my stomach from the opening number. Tears swell in my eyes whether they be of joy watching the circus in the beginning or when his father passes or . . . well, no spoilers.
I leave the theatre each time feeling uplifted and ready to hear the music again or see the movie again or just feel again the way it made me feel for 90 or 100 minutes.
And the music, it takes me somewhere.
“Every night I lie in bed; the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake”
Down to the way the tune goes down on the last word when one would expect it to go up.
“It’s everything you’d ever want, it’s everything you’d ever need. And it’s here right in front of you. This is where you wanna be.”
It says it in every song.
“When the world becomes a fantasy, and you’re more than you could ever be. Cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open.”
“From now on, these eyes will not be blinded by the light. From now on, what’s waited till tomorrow starts tonight.”
I can feel the goosebumps and the moistness in my eyes, just typing these few words.
I appreciate any of you reading this because it sure has been therapeutic for me. I think there is one line from one song that sums up why this movie moves me as well as how I’ve always felt
“I make no apologies, this is me!”