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Latest Obsession: The Greatest Showman

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I know, I am late to jump on this train! I honestly blame my niece for this new obsession. Brooke (12) saw The Greatest Showman shortly after it came out two years ago, and had asked me almost every time she saw me after that if I had seen it yet.

Well, as of last December, I finally have. And as of April 23, 2019, I’ve watched it at least 3 times, and the entire soundtrack is saved in my Spotify playlist as a frequent favorite for my long commute.

I. Love. This. Movie. It might be a new all time favorite, which is tough to rank in my head because most of my favorites are Marvel films. I think the reason why I’m so obsessed with this movie is that it deeply resonates with my sense of dream-chasing, much like I imagine it does with most viewers of the film.

Without spoiling too much for those who still haven’t seen the film, the movie is a loose interpretation of the life and ambition of Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum, and the origination of the American circus. The storyline follows him as a young boy into adulthood, pursuing a dream of creating a world where the impossible becomes ordinarily beautiful, and the “misfit carnies” find a home and community because of his show.

There’s a lot of hooks this show sank in me:

  1. Hugh Jackman. Come. ON! This man has recently risen to become my favorite actor, a title I didn’t actually have for anyone before (I’m much better at naming singers or artists I consistently follow than actors). But this man can act, dance, and SING! And make it believable! My appreciation only rose after rewatching the X-Men/Wolverine films… one movie he’s a mutated, self-healing, steel-boned animal and super hero, the next movie he’s a tactful businessman and colorful, singing showman.
  2. It speaks to dreamers. I feel like I related to the themes presented in the movie — Barnum’s aspiration to create a world where the unusual becomes beautiful; his fall to starry-eyed temptations as the glitz, glam, and fame gets to his head; the return to humble beginnings and purpose. It serves as a warning to anyone entering into building the thing they’ve dreamed about that success often comes with a greater responsibility to manage your perspective.
  3. The ending supports forgiveness and values an unbroken family unit. Though Barnum made mistakes that I almost expected to end his marriage in the film, the story takes a turn when he comes to a realization of the harm he and his ambitions have created on his family. During the last scene of the film, you see Barnum pass off the ringmaster’s hat to Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron), as he departs to begin focusing his life on his wife and two daughters. While some may think this promotes giving up your dreams to have the traditional family experience of staying home with the kids, I see it differently. He built his dream enough that he was able to provide for his kids and wife, and retired on the earnings that were well established in the business while trusting a responsible successor to carry on the work. It’s the American dream! And it only happened due to a lot of hard work and resourcefulness to rebuild what was lost. I hope to apply the same grit and determination in my business, because my dream is to have a career that lets me enjoy a family life one day and bring them along for the ride to show them what is possible when you set your mind to it.

Have you seen the film? What did you think of it? Are there any other movies similar to this one you’d recommend? Feel free to share with me in the comment section below!!

As always, thanks for reading!

Xx Emily

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