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Movie With a Message: The Greatest Showman

Who else has missed this section of the website? It is not easy oh, finding the time to be dedicated to source great movies and watch them with intention. But I am devoted to shedding light on all these incredible stories because I am such a movie lover and I want everyone, well that may seem a bit extreme, but I want most people to start watching movies differently to pick out the underlying messages it carries.

Today's movie of focus is titled The Greatest Showman! Just watching the film for the second time (for research purposes) brought so much joy to my heart. From the story line to the message it carries and the songs! Oh my goodness! This movie was made with intent. Hugh Jackman the star of the movie shares in an interview that he had been trying to get this particular movie made for the past seven years and it was finally released in December of 2017. Talk about dedication! The film is inspired by the story of P.T Barnum’s creation of the Barnum & Bailey circus and the lives of its star attractions.

official IG page for The Greatest Showman

When your dreams don’t match your reality

This incredible piece opens up with an excellent circus performance with Hugh Jackman (P.T Barnum) singing his heart away, then it all turns out to be a dream, of a little boy who had next to nothing. He knew his gifts, but he didn’t know how he was going to get from where he was to where he wanted to be. Growing up, Mr. Barnum and his father didn't have much. His father was trying to make ends meet by being a tailor. One day Barnum accompanied his dad to a rich man's house, and there he met and fell for the love of his life.

Her father was very standoffish and gave little boy Barnum a dirty slap (as we Africans like to call it) when he tried taking the blame for his little love, for her not to get into trouble with her dad. Mr. Barnum's father stood there in awe because he couldn't do anything about his "boss" manhandling his precious child. For the girl not to see poor Mr. P.T anymore, her father sent her away to finishing school. That didn't stop their love, Barnum still wrote her letters, while he struggled with his own life. He lost his father to some disease and was left to fend for himself on the streets.

After he stole some food one day, he was chased down, and the food was forcefully taken away from him. Then a unique looking old lady offered him an apple to soothe his rumbling tummy. Fast forward a couple of years down the road, Mr. Barnum grew up to be a responsible man and went ahead to ask for the love of his life's hand in marriage. Yes, he was still in love with his childhood love after all those years. Her parents were not in support of their union anyway, and they harbored in one part of their heart that she was going to be back.

His wife portrayed by the amazing Michelle Williams, was sold on his dreams, the dreams he had as a little child, and she supported him. He worked as an accountant to support his family but unfortunately, the company packed up, and he was let go of his duties. Plagued with how he was going to fend for his family, he gave his all into pursuing his dreams. He was blessed to be married to a great woman, who was willing to push him to follow his passion which was to become The Greatest Showman. His dream was to create this great circus where people would come and experience things that they haven’t before.

"Eyes haven't seen, ears haven't heard"

Fan art by Agnes Victoria (@agnesvic)

He went ahead to take a $10,000 loan from the bank and used his sunken goods as collateral unbeknownst to the bank. He then used it to open a wax museum, and no one wanted to come to see what he had to offer. He was distraught and didn’t know how he was going to move on with his desires without being labeled a failure. Then one night as he went to tuck his children in, one of his precious daughters told him to change his strategy and show things that people have never seen before.

There was an apple on the lamp stand by the bed of his kids, that sparked a memory in his heart. He remembered as a little child the unique creature who gave him an apple when he was hungry. Something struck a cord in him! He then took it upon himself to gather people from all walks of life that looked different from regular humans to put up a show for an audience. He started scouring the town to find these unique people. That show became a huge success, so much so that Mr. Barnum was able to purchase a mansion for his family to live in, although his family would have been happy anywhere as long as they were with him, it didn’t matter to them.

Later on, he came across this Swedish singer who he felt could bring him even more success, and success did she bring! They started spending a lot of time together traveling for shows, touring around the country that he began to neglect his other acts and his family. Although he wasn't pursuing a romantic relationship with this lady, he just wanted to be successful, and it almost cost him his marriage and his original crew.

He was no longer present for his children's ballet and his crew's performances; he wanted to separate himself from these unique people that he once took pride in. As he was spending ample time with this Swedish singer (and you know how we women are), she started catching feelings for him and kissed him after one of her shows. That moment was instantly photographed and sent to major newspapers. After the singer pulled that stunt, he realized that he was making a mistake and he rushed back home.

By that time, a fight had already broken out in his absence, and some hoodlums set his museum on fire. When he got to his wife, she had already seen the papers and decided to leave with the kids back to her parents’ house (her parents dreams). Mr. Barnum then lost everything he had worked so hard to gain. He lost focus for a second, and it ruined him. Their home was also facing a possible foreclosure which left him even the more devastated.

Then his crew stood by him and helped him pick himself back up, because they felt he believed in them when no one else did; he got his family and his life back eventually after he fixed his focus. He had to remember why he started in the first place. Sometimes God will let you hit rock bottom to adjust your focus. In the end his dreams came full circle, the dreams he had as a little boy about this extravagant show, when in reality he stood there day-dreaming looking messed up with messed up shoes.

That full circle moment reminded me of the story about Joseph in the bible when his dreams came to pass in the end after he had endured years of hardship. Like this Indian proverb that goes “Everything will work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out, then it’s not the end.”

Zac Efron & Hugh Jackman (@greatestshowman)

Lessons Learned

“Be who God created you to be”

If you do what everyone else is doing or what has been done before, people won’t buy into your dream; When Barnum first started out according to the movie, he wanted to have a wax museum. But that was something that had been done before; there was nothing unique or different about his idea, so it failed. It had to take the wisdom of his little daughter to help him see things differently.

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out, I am brave, I am proof, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.”

Don't pay attention to the naysayers; people would always come for you when you are doing something right, don't let them get to you, keep moving forward; people wondered what his show was all about. They mocked him and wanted to run him out of business. But he stood on what his wife told him which was “You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people.” He failed to realize that his immediate family and close friends were rooting for him; while he was craving attention from the world.

When you follow your dreams, calling or purpose, you will always face opposition. When opposition comes, don't feel bad. You are in good company, and you will be well on your way; just like everyone great who have come before us, they always faced backlash (Hello Jesus!), because they were doing something unique and different and the world did not understand it. Remember that people will attack or ignore what they don’t understand.

Do not allow your quest for success, make you lose sight of why you began in the first place; when you lose sight of your why then you will be faced with many issues. This reminds me of the story of Samson in the bible as well. He was a great warrior and was not supposed to reveal to random people the source of his strength. I believe Samson's success got in his head that he one day slipped up to an enemy who had been trying to take him out. He forgot about his why, which was God. God created him with so much strength so he could be a defense to the people of Israel. Samson lost focus and eventually lost his life. Losing sight of why you were chosen for a great life to begin with, could be detrimental to your life.

“A man’s station is only limited by his imagination."

Have a vision; P.T Barnum saw the success of his dreams even as a little child before it was ever made manifest, just like Joseph again in the Bible. That is a gift God gives us (our imagination), so in the tough times, we can have something to hold on to and never give up.

And oh did I fail to mention how fantastic the soundtrack for this movie is? So much thought and creativity went into this project. I am a huge Hugh Jackman fan, not just because of his work of the arts, but also who he is as a person. There only a few people that you can match their heart with how much passion they put into their work and Hugh is one of them.

Thank you, Mr. Jackman, for not giving up on this project and to the amazing cast and crew, you all are incredible!

Hurry to watch this fantastic film (Youtube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play & HBO NOW) and find out why it is a movie with a message. Leave your thoughts below and do not forget to subscribe! xoxo

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