I love The Greatest Showman. No, adore is more fitting! I adore everything about this fantastic, heartwarming, toe-tapping, inspiring musical. If you have yet to see the film, bookmark this post and go buy the digital, DVD, or streaming copy – it’s worth your time and your money.
As I sat in front of the computer to write my film review of this award-worthy film, I struggled. I was not at a loss for words – just the opposite; the words flooded my mind and heart. The classic review-style post I’d drafted, while detailed in appreciation, was impersonal. The blog writer put the review aside to make way for the artistic spirit within.
In recent months I rediscovered that the beauty within is far superior to the exterior. Embracing all that you are, broken mirrors and perceived imperfections abound, is not only possible but essential and attainable. For as the award-winning anthem states, “I am brave/I am bruised/I am who I’m meant to be/This is me.”
I am a straight, white female – one who’s never experienced hatred or violence due to the color of my skin, weight, gender identity, or sexual orientation. I do not know what’s it’s like to be in Ann’s trapeze-artist shoes or Lettie’s position and yet I know self-doubt, low self-esteem, and how it feels to not love the reflection staring back.
Open heart surgery as a toddler meant living with a scar that seemed massive for my smaller-than-typical frame. It morphed as I grew, the physical reminder of my “broken” heart fading as the emotional one spread. I never believed myself to be beautiful. I’m pretty, but not gorgeous. I don’t turn any heads when I walk in a room. If someone showed a romantic interest, then I’d run for the proverbial hills leaving a trail of regret behind.
I am an artistic spirit, pulled toward art’s ability to heal the soul and inspire the spirit. I gravitate to the entertainment arts – singing, writing, acting, celebrating film/TV/theatre in blog form. While others my age played sports, gossiped about boys, or frequented clubs/bars, I remained true to what interested me. I am an entertainment girl at heart and in spirit, one who’d rather spend a movie night with good friends then get wasted at a party.
I felt separate, different, odd when I compared myself with those around me. I didn’t feel as though I fit in a world obsessed with frivolity and superficial conversations. It wasn’t until I performed “On My Own” in my college Actors’ Showcase that I came alive. As the house lights remained dim and silence pulsated around me I thought. This is what matters. This is where my heart is. This is me. My artistic spirit soared in that moment of belonging, and recalling it still brings me joy.
I experienced the gloriousness that is The Greatest Showman in the company of my 8-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew. I smiled and my heart swelled with joy at seeing their reaction to the story on-screen. They were completely engaged, their eyes wide and their feet moving. When Zendaya came on screen, my niece cheered. When the townsfolk spouted hatred and violence, my nephew turned to me and asked, “Why are they being so mean?” I hope that The Greatest Showman inspires them in the way the musicals of my generation did for me.
As we navigate the world of adult responsibilities, expectations, and societal roles, may we remember though we are bound to change the core of who we are never will. What makes us different does not separate us; it calls us to champion one another and the beauty within us all.