The Greatest Showman- Analysed by a Bookworm

dear Travellers

I had gone to watch the Greatest Showman this past week and fell in love with (most) of the soundtrack. Of course, the harshest critics derail the soundtrack, and generous critics hail it as a modern classic.

But my opinion was formed by analyzing it as one would a book. I took the storyline and the characters and formed an opinion.

Here are some things that would pop out to any book lover out there. [Warning: Spoilers ahead.]


I think this is the most obvious one. Dear Mr. Carlisle takes one look at Anne and goes weak-kneed. He is in lo- no, sorry. The word ‘love’ went unmentioned. Want, yes, but not love.

Of course, she swings towards him during her trapeze act, their gaze catches, and she falls head-over-heels as well. Metaphorically, of course.

Now, they may have a bit of conflict, but it is quite straightforward. Philip and Anne like each other. There’s friction. He almost dies. They kiss. The end.

It bugged me quite a bit, but at least they were secondary characters, so it wasn’t the main point of the film.


Now, even though I noticed this, it didn’t bother me. It was an intentional thing that only would be critiqued in literature.

Throughout the movie, one might argue it does not have a clear-cut plot.  Rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.

As a biographical movie, you had a bombardment of emotions, images, colours, music, events, and information.

Where I expected a story of how P.T. Barnum built up his show, how he created the show-business, I found an account of his life during that stage. Nothing wrong with this- it was just a different slant then I’d expected.

character development

This was amazing. Not only did Barnum discover the meaning of real value, joy, and contentment, but other characters became confident in the uniqueness of their characteristics.

Well done, the development of Barnum’s character was one of the most prominent messages of the film.


Now, if you are a real scholar, there may be things that irk you.

For one, the “Barnum Scandal” did not happen.

Zac Effron had no need to be in the film (not that I hate him, per se. He just wasn’t as remarkable as Hugh Jackman. But then, the majority of teen girls like him. I happen to be the minority.)

So, Philip Carlise wasn’t a real person. I guess that’s what I was trying to say.

Barnum’s museum had been active for almost twenty years. He only started his circus when he was 60, and five years after the museum burned down.

Barnum, in real life, had a profound, steadfast love for his wife. In the movie, this is true (even though he kinda forgets how important it is). Historically, she was his anchor.

The Greatest Showman portrays Barnum as standing for acceptance and tolerance of the unique and odd. However, in real life, controversy abounds on whether he exploited the ‘freaks’ that worked for him.

the end–

So, there. I hope you can relate, or at least found some of this interesting.

The movie was interesting- the soundtrack I really enjoy.

So what are your thoughts?

< 3 klara




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