What Can We Learn from “The Greatest Showman”
Are you a big fan of musical drama movie?
If the answer is yes, then I suggest you to buy the ticket for this movie, The Greatest Showman. Well, I was suggested by my students to watch this movie when I asked them what was the song we heard at that time. Nadine, my energetic student, told me that it was a theme song of a movie, then she turned out to be a spoiler. I knew the theme song previously when I attended Supermentor22, a leadership mentoring program held by FPCI (Foreign Policy of Community of Indonesia) couple weeks ago in Bogor. I think the event organizer chose “This is Me” not only because it is ear catching but consists of life values as well such as dare to take a risk, be a pioneer and never be ashamed to show who you are. These values for sure will bring us up to be a better or the best person we have been. I remembered once Ibu Ina Liem told us that if you wish to be a successful person, be a successful figure with values.
The story begun by introducing Phineas, son of a poor tailor who came to a wealthy family who asked his father for making suit. It was also the first time for Phineas to meet the master’s daughter, Charity. Knowing that Phineas is not a suitable to be her daughter’s friend, Mr. Hallet asked Phineas to stay away from his daughter. Mr. Hallet eventually sent Charity to a boarding school to finish her study.
After the death of his father, Phineas turned into a penniless orphan boy who tried to survive by stealing and selling secondhand newspaper. Life wasn’t that easy for Phineas. Though Charity had been sent to boarding school, they kept their contact by sending letters to each other.
Couple years later both of them were growing. Phineas as a gentleman asked Mr. Hallet to take care of his daughter. Although Mr. Hallet let Charity goes but he confidently told Phineas that his daughter will come back sooner and later to his home as he believes that his daughter will be tired of having nothing to live with Phineas.
Phineas and Charity’s life depicted as a happy life with two daughters although all of sudden Phineas had no job as all the employees were dismissed since the company’s bankcroupt. Phineas felt guilty since he couldn’t fulfill his promised to give a good life to Charity, though Charity didn’t mind with their condition because she lives with the man she loves and granted two daughters.
Phineas eventually came into the idea to open a wax museum by lending some money from the bank. Phineas ideas was seen as an abstract and the bank was about rejecting his loan. Phineas tried to convince the bank officer by giving collateral. He earned $10.000 from the bank. Unfortunately, his effort to present a wax museum didn’t run well. Only few people came to the museum. Desperate by his idea, Phineas finally listened to his daughters idea to put something unique, magical and alive in the museum. Suddenly he remembered a woman with ugly face who gave him an apple when he was unsuccessfully stealing bread when he was child.
To begin his idea, he approached a woman who told that she had no son but the medical record said so. It was Charles, 22 years old man with short body. Although Charles rejected Phineas offered but he finally agreed after Phineas convinced him that he will be a star in his business performance. Knowing that he is looking for a unique person, someone suggests him to meet a person who has incredible voice. Again, this person was inconfidence till Phineas makesures that everyone will be astonished by her voice. It is Lettie, a woman with a beard who own that fascinating voice.
Phineas keeps on looking for the unique person. He announced it and this chance was taken by others unique people who came for audition. His team is finally formatted by some extraordinary figures such as the tallest man, the heaviest man, siblings trapeze, tatoo man, dog boy and many more.
This live show attracts people attention. The tickets are sold out. People were fascinated by the unique people they have never seen. Among those spectators, Mr. Bennet, a journalist eventually wrote about Phineas’s business the next day. It says that Phineas business is a primitive circus and humbug. He viewed as a criminal and someone who degrade humanity. The situation is getting worse when the people around them made a protest. Instead of seeing the negative side from this issue, Phineas saw it from the positive one. He reprint that issue in every paper in New York and gave half price ticket for those who brought it in. The result of this action is the ticket even more than sold out!
Phineas finally paid his promised to Charity by buying her a grand house as her parents own. He gave ballet shoes and sent Caroline, one of her daughter, to a ballet school as her daughter wishes on her birthday. Unfortunately, people still undermining Phineas family include how Caroline’s friends treated her at ballet school. This situation made Caroline decided to quit from her ballet school. Phineas was shocked by Caroline’s quit statement.
Phineas tried to prevent his daughter from quitting. He didn’t want his daughter being underestimate as he experience in the past. He tried find a way to make Caroline stays in her ballet school. One of the way is to make his family the same level as others. He took that way by approaching a wealthy bachelor.
It was Phillip Carlyle who finally approached by Phineas to move up his business ladder. Carlyle is a successful play director. Phineas asked him to be his partner. Phineas eager to expand his business and he believes and convince Carlyle has a flair in showbiz.
Carlyle obviously refused to join in Phineas circus business as it will disgrace and disown himself among his family and society. But, it is not Phineas if he couldn’t convince and influence others. After a tough negotiation, Carlyle finally agreed joining Phineas business by having ten percent from each show. Phineas also asked Carlyle to teach him approaching the highbrow in town, although Carlyle confessed that they are actually suffocationg people.
The more the show is being critisized, the more well known they are. Although the protest from people around them getting worse and worst, Phineas keeps on going with his business. The show’s popularity was sky rocketing and made them invited by the Queen of England to come to Buckingham. On that occasion, Phineas met Jenny Lind, a remarkable opera singer in Europe. Without wasting time, he asked Ms. Lind to join him. He promised that he will make Jenny Lind not only famous in Europe but all over the world.
Involving Jenny Lind in his business impacts a great success to Phineas. He wiped out the impression that people who come to his show is only for seeing a hoodwink. By inviting Jenny Lind, he showed people that he is capable to present the real show. Phineas was crazy by his ambition to expand his business. He eventually plan for Jenny Lind’s world tour. This idea was not supported by Charity since it means that Phineas will leave her for 41 Jenny Lind’s world tour. Phineas argued that all what he has done is for Caroline and Helen, their daughters. He doesn’t want people treat them badly because of their status. He wants them proud of him. Charity warns him that they are happy with what they have now, but it sounds like nothing to Phineas. He pursued the world tour with Lind.
The world tour was fully successful until finally Phineas realized that Lind seemed felt in love with him. Phineas asked Jenny to finish her world tour by herself. Jenny was dissatisfied and asked for quitting. They finally involved in a tough debate.
When Phineas going back home happily, on the other hand, the clash between the circus and protesters couldn’t be avoided. It ended up by a big fire from the circus area. The protesters burnt the circus building.
Phineas slammed into the bottom of his failure. The newspaper told that he had scandal with Lind which made Lind quitted. Charity went back to her parents’ home as their grand house was evicting by the bank. Phineas sunk to deperation with all the situation he had.
Surprisingly, in this bad of situation, his team supports and asked him to start over. Phineas was inconfidence since no bank lend him money. Carlyle offered him to use his money. Although Phineas rejects this idea as it is too risky but finally they made an agreement that they will build a partnership with 50/50 percentages.
Lets talk about the movie!
Have you seen “La La Land”? a typical of musical drama movie as well. By the time I completed seeing “The Greatest Showman”, my mind was automatically compared these two movies and pull out the red lines from both of them.
The issue of immigration, segregation and American Dream is seen obviously in these movies. What makes it different is La La Land put those idea in terms of jazz while The Greatest Showman put them in the form of circus.
We can see the segregation issue more in The Greatest Showman rather than in La La Land. Although Anne Wheeler (Afro girl) plays as a minor character but her role is so powerful to show about racial issue. Her character shows as a lower status in many scenes. She is the one who disbelieved that Carlyle loves her, she also the one who makesure whether all the circus member are allowed to come to Buckingham Palace.
This movie shows how American attitudes towards immigrants as well. The statement “Go home” is repeated more than once by the protesters in this movie. The idea of “American Dream” is such never ending issue. From the old to the recent movie, this idea is like never ending source to take to the surface.
Above all, I would say that this movie consists of lots of moral values. How a gentleman proves his words, how woman’s attitude towards her choices, not to scare to design your life, shameless to show your uniques and many more.
To wrap up, I would say that this movie is worth to watch!!!Karya : Irma Rahmatiana