Celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.Celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.Celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
Hugh, Zac, & Zendaya Share 'Greatest Showman' Tales
In P.T. Barnum's day, class was something one was born into, with no escape, though the idea of class mobility was on the rise, thanks to the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment. After the French and American revolutions, culture was on it's way to modern democracies. This movie is a nod to how entertainment began to reflect these changes. Today, classical entertainment like ballet and theater combines with the liberal and diverse entertainment of fringe ideas like the circus, to make what we consider modern entertainment, movies and television.
We don't quite take for granted the diversity and acceptance we enjoy in our contemporary world (evident in ongoing racism and other discrimination like against LGBTQ people), but we are still a world away from the 19th century. But, Barnum was clearly ahead of his time, thanks to being an upwardly mobile individual himself (a rarity for the time), and having a bold and somewhat narcissistic personality.
I think what is most striking about this story in this moment in history is that Barnum embraced and promoted an inevitable cultural phenomenon, even though he himself might not have been fully aware of its impact. His main motivation, after all, was to be a legitimate upper class person, not to unite the masses. He was simply a vessel through which that occurred. But, what happened with the circus in his time was really a precursor to what today is civil rights and modern democracy.
- Sep 30, 2020