I’ll start this blog by saying, if you haven’t seen the movie, “The Greatest Showman“, you need to. I’ve gone to see it four times and will definitely go again before it leaves the big screen. If you have even an inkling of a dreamer within you, this movie is for you. This movie was made for us dreamers.
I could probably write a book on all of the things this film touched on in regard to finding yourself, your success, your purpose, and your love in life. Yes. It is that impactful if you pick up on it. The music alone, the lyrics alone, can bring you to a wonderful place of jumping freely into your dreams. Scared out of your mind but going for it any way, because what else is there to do? Wait for death?
“Men suffer from imagining too little than too much,” is one of the lines Barnum says to his critic in the movie. If you’ve read, “Think and Grow Rich”, you will see principles of this book scattered through the storyline. Why is that so important? Well first, you should read that book. Second, the film is based off of an actual life that likely affected all of us (Yes, I realize that there are departures from the actual life of Barnum and potentially his character. But this movie is portraying acceptance and love for folks not accustomed to being shown love and acceptance… what does it matter if it’s actually factually in line with history or simply a standard that should be adopted by all of us?)
I can remember going to the Circus when I was a kid. At that time I didn’t have friends that were animal rights activists, now I do and I can see and appreciate their stance. But for now, that’s not the thing I’m campaigning in this post. Rather the fact that certain universal principles exist for us to realize our dreams. This movie celebrates those principles. Including the principle of temporary defeat not being equal to forever failure if you persist. This exact principle is seen as Barnum initially opens his museum and only sells three tickets to his family. This is also important to pick up on.
When you’re selling something, service or product, you should own it and believe in the thing your selling. Investing in the very thing you’re selling is a wise move. I learned that from my friend, Andy Albright.
Though Barnum’s critic in the film did not support the work P.T. was doing, he admitted that because of having such different walks of life, different shapes, sizes, colors, all sharing the same stage, another critic might call it a celebration of humanity. Barnum met these broken and talented folks right where they were and introduced them to the amazing talent they had within. One of the greatest qualities a leader must have is that of influence. To genuinely connect with people and assist them in seeing their strengths, their gifts, their talents, their possibilities, their value… This film seems to depict P.T. Barnum as the first Tony Robbins.
The music written and performed in the film will move you to dream bigger and dream more. The lyrics, the composition, even the choreography in the film does something to you. It moves you. What an amazing thing to be able to do; move the human spirit. This film, this masterpiece, does just that. I’m probably not supposed to use words like “masterpiece” or enjoy musicals because I have a tattoo on my neck. Well, here I am, screaming from the mountaintop, that this is one of the most important and moving works of art of our time.
Step out. Risk everything. Even your reputation as some buff quarter-black dude with a neck tattoo (I mean, the tattoo is of three stars that I got when I was 18, so right away it’s not all that bad ass anyway.)
The closing line in the movie is P.T. sitting with his wife, Charity, watching their little girls dance ballet and he quietly sings, almost a whisper, lyrics to what I think is the most moving melody in the repertoire… “It’s everything you ever want, It’s everything you ever need…”
I’m certain that this movie leaves out potentially crazy or even maniacal aspects of P.T. Barnum. But what it does represent and intends to represent in relation to dreaming, risking, and living, is done to perfection. Can you just go and enjoy a good story and good music that can potentially move you to not be so angry and disgruntled by the fact that it’s not a movie filled with the filthy facts of someone’s life but aspects of a life that aren’t filthy with an added touch of hope? We live in filth enough with only scattered moments of amazing.
Why not just enjoy something entirely dedicated to those moments of amazing that leaves you feeling like there might be hope in what sometimes feels like a hopeless existence? You’re not too old to dream and you’re not too grown-up to hope. This movie shows you that it’s alright to live a little, laugh a little, and have the freedom to dream. Now give yourself the same permission.