‘The Greatest Showman’ Celebrates Differences

‘The Greatest Showman’ Celebrates Differences

Sometimes a movie grabs your heartstrings and sticks with you. I fully admit that I’m not the biggest movie buff on the planet. In fact, it takes a lot of convincing for me to sit and watch a movie. Why? Sitting still is difficult for me because I always feel that I need to be doing something. But I’m very happy to say that seeing the movie “The Greatest Showman” is not something I regret or will forget.

“The Greatest Showman” is about the life of P.T. Barnum, the founder of what became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The circus closed in the past year, but the story behind it lives on. I remember seeing previews of the film but forgot to go see it with all of the holiday activities. When my husband asked me to go with him last week, I said yes. Neither of us knew exactly what we were getting into, but we were both pleasantly surprised.

Hugh Jackman’s acting and singing made me quickly know why he was nominated for a Golden Globe. He starred as P.T. Barnum. From the first second of the movie, I felt entertained, excited, and interested. Jackman fit the part perfectly, and one could easily believe he was Barnum. The music alone will sweep you off your feet.

As a woman who has cerebral palsy, “The Greatest Showman” resonates with me in terms of embracing differences. From the beginning of the movie, someone who has a disability is presented positively by a woman who has a deformity doing a performance and appearing happy to do so. I can’t tell you how nice it is to see a movie portray someone, anyone, who is different, in a positive way.

Barnum seemed to be intrigued by the unusual. Unfortunately, in the early 1880s, acceptance of any kind of difference seemed few and far between. He took a gamble that people would pay to be entertained by the unusual. But first, he needed to convince the people who had differences that they should be involved in the show.

All the people who had challenges have excellent stories, but three stuck out to me throughout the movie. First, a man in his 20s who is a little person who lived in hiding with his mom. A woman who has a beard, and who worked, but always hid her face despite her amazing singing voice. And, a woman who is a talented trapeze artist, who happens to be African-American, in a time of racism.

None of these people could change whom they were born to be even if they wanted to. They were all courageous to step forward and show themselves to the world as talented, creative people. In fact, the Golden Globe-winning song, “This Is Me,” sums up everything the disability community has tried to convey to society.

No matter who you are, and how different you might be, you have the right to be the person that you were meant to be. I have cerebral palsy and have dealt with being stared at, made fun of, being told that I’m not good enough, being mocked and disrespected. It isn’t easy to push that negativity aside and be who you were meant to be, regardless. I succeeded, even though the challenge continues, but I know who I want to be and who I am.

“The Greatest Showman” is not only very entertaining, but also uplifting when seeing others rise to their utmost courageousness. I highly recommend this movie to everyone, but especially if you’re feeling the need for a little boost of morale.


Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.

One comment

  1. Kerry Mellin says:

    Hi Jessica,
    I enjoyed reading your latest blog of the Movie ” Greatest Showman” I agree with your reveiw…it was a wonderful, powerful film. What struck me most, however, was something you said before your review; ” Sitting still is difficult for me because I always feel that I need to be doing something” Rest assured! Sitting, absorbing, watching art, music, stories come to life IS doing something! A necessity for every healthy well rounded happy individual. And don’t forget, your monetary contribution is also going directly to those families creating the art!
    It’s a win-win for you, and the planet…so feel guilty no more!

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