The Greatest Showman ~ Movie Review

Dim the lights.

The theater goes dark.

Anticipation rises…

The Greatest Showman is seconds away from beginning!

~~~

Y’all, I have already seen this amazing movie three times. The first time was with one of my friends at Alabama, the second was with my dad, and the third with my entire family and Nana. Each viewing, I noticed something new about the movie and still enjoyed it immensely even after seeing it three times in such a short time frame!

There are so many components to love about this movie. The historical time frame, which is always a favorite of mine –  I love seeing all the beautiful costumes, how people lived back then. And of course, it is a musical!

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Musicals are pretty much the best. You have dancing, singing, acting – and a story being told through all of those different, moving parts.

For this film, Hugh Jackman – aka Wolverine aka Jean Valjean – stars as the leading character, P.T. Barnum. Other names you might recognize are Zendaya from Spider-Man Homecoming (M.J.) and Disney Channel (K.C. Undercover, Shake It Up), as well as, Zac Efron (!!!) from High School Musical 1/2/3 (Troy Bolton), among other work.

Additionally, there are several stars from Broadway, such as Keala Settle (Hairspray, Waitress, Les Mis, etc…) and Michelle Williams (Cabaret and Blackbird). 

The movie is loosely based around the real life person of P.T. Barnum, who started the Barnum and Bailey circus, which closed on May 21, 2017, after having been opened for 146 years. Like I said, it is loosely based, so please don’t watch the movie and take it for 100% historical accuracy.

With that said, onto the spoiler part of the review!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead

SEE ABOVE NOTICE.

SERIOUSLY Y’ALL.

LAST WARNING. SPOILERS AHEAD.

~~~

Alright! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s delve into the movie-musical!

The way this musical was constructed was so smartly done. A lot of times, when a musical has many reprises of the same song, it can be boring and feel redundant. I’m not entirely sure what the formula was for how they managed to create such an emotionally jarring reprise each time, but they succeeded fabulously.

My favorite part of the entire musical is the first fifteen minutes. Seriously, PERFECTION. The introduction – SO GOOD. Like such a smart move. I adore how they did these sharp clips of Hugh Jackman with his cane, and then flashed to some of the script.

THE ASESTHETIC.

Absolutely awesome.

The kids they chose to play a younger P.T. and Charity, his wife, were adorable. Their scenes were so cute, and the fact that they sing the first “A Million Dreams” version, in this house that (SPOILER ALERT) is later the one they buy???

❤ ❤ ❤

Fast forward, and the next reprise is when P.T. and Charity are now adults, and they are starting their lives together. Charity, who grew up in a wealthy family, is leaving all of that behind to go and be with him. As they walk through the town, you see him wishing that he could offer her everything the world has, and with this, Charity pulls him away and the dance, the reprise begins.

Again, AESTHETIC.

My favorite reprise however, is the last one. Y’all, when it started, I literally looked over at my friend, Ashleigh, and was like what even. FIFTEEN MINUTES into the movie and I’m already getting serious feels???

You know. The scene where it’s his daughter’s birthday, and he has to put SOMETHING together because she’s his little girl…but he kind of got fired, and they don’t have much anyway, so he spins this tale of wishes and firelight and danger, all the while putting together this rag-tag gift that’s basically a candle holder, but SHE LOVES IT (help me now), and then he says that you tell it your wishes and it keeps them safe AND THEN THEY START SINGING THE SONG OK. IN THEIR BABY CHILDREN VOICES.

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ADORABLE. INNOCENT. TEN OUT OF TEN.

It’s funny, cause most of the time in movies, my favorite scene is the romantic one, but for this film, the entire way they orchestrated the “A Million Dreams” numbers, and how the emotional gravity kept increasing with each rendition, just got me.

Love.

Another one of my favorite components of the movie was Phillip Carlyle, played by Zac Efron, and Anne Wheeler, played by Zendaya. The progression of their relationship is really told through the music – even if neither one is the main singer in a particular song.

For instance, in “Never Enough,” Jenny Lind sings:

I’m trying to hold my breath
Let it stay this way
Can’t let this moment end
You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause darling without you

Cue Phillip taking Anne’s hand – so adorable.

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough

Then, as the song continues, Phillip looks up and sees his parents watching him.

Uh oh. What’s going to happen?

He drops Anne’s hand instantly, and at this, she leaves Jenny Lind’s performance. It really is so heartbreaking, because they both care about each other, but all these things and pressures of the world just keep getting in their way.

There’s also a scene between them during the song “This Is Me,” where Anne stares up at Phillip from the circus floor, while he is in the office, and just gives him this look. 

Sometime after this, Anne goes to the theatre because P.T. said he “left” her a ticket. Sneaky man! Because, as you continue watching, you realize that it was in fact Phillip – with the help of Lettie and P.T. – who orchestrated this, all for desiring to go on a date with Anne Wheeler.

PRECIOUS.

They start to go up the steps; Anne whispering that she always wanted to go to the theatre, when suddenly, something happens that crashes their happiness.

Guess who?

Phillip’s parents.

Being the gentleman he is, Phillip introduces Anne to them, however, the situation only goes downhill from there. Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle treat Anne rudely, making their racism apparent and Phillip is having NONE OF THAT. 

Long story short, he basically says he wants no part in their world or in his inheritance if this is how they’re going to act. He leaves the theater, rushing after Anne who darted out at the comments from his parents.

Cue “Rewrite the Stars.” Honestly, every single song and musical number in this film was A++, but this was another of my favorites.

You have Phillip, who tries to tell Anne that they can be together – they can change their fate; they can do what they want no matter what anyone else says. You have Anne, who despite wanting to be with him, doesn’t think that’s possible, says it could never work in the world they live in.

The entire number is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

There are honestly so many parts of this musical I could go on and on about. I love the scene between Anne and Phillip in the hospital, where Anne is finally willing to risk it all, after almost losing him. I love the entire “This Is Me” number, where they are not shying away despite what society has labeled as useless – and the choreography for that is really awesome too, it shows the exact emotion coming through in the lyrics and matches them word for word. I love the part at the end where the birth of the entire circus tent came to be, how P.T. hands the baton over to Phillip, and goes to be with his family.

I love how P.T. wears his father’s hat for the rest of the film, and how in the song, “Tightrope” you can see the wish holder sitting on the little girls’ bedside table. I love the attention to detail, especially with the costumes – personally, I believe that P.T. sewed the costumes for the circus, seeing as how he was broke when it first started, and his dad was a tailor. Which, makes it entirely plausible.

I love that this was a family film – that it was clean, decent, and filled with everything that made people want to go watch movies and musicals in the first place. We don’t need all this inappropriate stuff, foul language, or vulgar meanings. What people need, and want, whether they realize it or not, is hope, love, something that actually has depth and meaning. Something where commitment is honored, and traditional, good values are kept. 

I’m so happy that Hugh Jackman decided to make this, despite it taking seven years. I wish that it had gotten all the recognition it deserved in awards, but I hope he and everyone that helped make it, knows that the audience and the people loved it, and were it up to us, it would have received more awards.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch The Greatest Showman! You will not regret it, and will likely find yourself going back to watch it again and again. If you have seen it, what did you think? Did you have any favorite songs or scenes? Let me know in the comments!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

To Fear Or Not To Fear…

Fear. That dratted emotion that can get us all wound up and in a messy pit.

See the source imageWouldn’t it be great, if we never experienced fear again, never had to worry over anything? Lived in a world where anxiety was non-existent? I think that would be pretty amazing. 

Unfortunately, we do live in a fallen world, and because of that, can feel fear. Something I have been off and on struggling with, in terms of that, has been fearing what God might ask of me.

It’s funny, because I do want to please God and be used by Him, but somehow, fear sneaks its way in and starts whispering all sorts of silly things. What if He asks you to do something that scares you? What if He tells you to do such and such thing that freaks you out?

This past week, I went to a Bible study, and then afterwards read a devotional. Once I finished reading it, I realized there was something similar in both what the devotion was saying, and a small part of what we had been discussing in the group (just a side note, often times, God will make those sorts of things align like that, because He wants you to pay attention to it or is trying to tell you something). In His Treasure, by Sheri Rose Shepherd, this specific day’s verse was from Ephesians.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” ~ Ephesians 2:10

Of course, my first thought was ok so God is wanting me to do something. OH. GOD IS WANTING ME TO DO SOMETHING. Cue my brain semi-panicking.

blog17Well, I turned to Ephesians, since I like to read the entire chapter of wherever the verse came from…and guess what the title of that section was?

By Grace Through Faith.

By Grace Through Faith. 

Crazy, huh? Here I am, panicking, and then God is like, “LANIE. GRACE.” It’s amazing how patient the Lord is with us, because I know for me, there are so many times that God has shown me grace, and yet, I’m still like grace??? WHAT. Does not compute.

I want y’all to see just how many times grace is mentioned in this passage.

“…by grace you have been saved…”

“…show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…”

“…For by grace you have been saved through faith…”

Ok. Grace. Right. After noticing this, I went back to verse 10, now trying to remember that God bestows grace on us, as I read it. So, Jesus has created good works for us to do. What does that look like?

In Matthew, Jesus tells a parable, which, I believe, gives some insight into this.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master,” ~ Matthew 25:21

I know a lot of times, people focus on the beginning part – the “good and faithful servant.” And while that is definitely a part of this, I want to focus more on the second half of the verse. The last line says, “enter into the joy of your master.” 

Isn’t that beautiful? He has just given his servant a larger assignment, and right after that, says enter into the joy of your master. This is not an assignment to be a burden or cause him to panic – you don’t tell someone, “enter into the joy” if what you are having them do is something that will cause fear, stress, or grief. 

Another way to look at this, is like a job promotion. Imagine you work at a huge company. You’ve been bringing coffee, fetching papers, doing odds and ends. Then one day, you come into work and your boss is there.

~~~

He gives you a grin, takes the coffee out of your hands.

Naturally, you are surprised, a bit confused. Weren’t you supposed to deliver those?

Chuckling, he tells you that you have been such a faithful worker, that he wants to give you a promotion. He’s got a job with you specifically in mind.

His excitement is contagious, and despite your worries over whether or not you will actually be good enough to do this next assignment (you had only been delivering coffee and papers up until now!), you nod your head and follow him to the next floor.

~~~

I love analogies – they always help me to better understand concepts and visualize what that would look like in day-to-day life. How would our lives be different if we could come to God, with no fear of what he might do/what he might ask of us, and just be excited because He wants us to do something more?

Over the past couple of months, I’ve talked to several godly adults, and something that has been common in their responses is this: God has gifted each and every one of His children with specific skill sets. He wants to use those. He gave them to us for a reason.

Yes, He might ask us to do something outside of our comfort zone, but it will be within our skill set. For example, my mom loves God’s Word and she loves to encourage others, but speaking in front of others? No way! And yet, that is what Jesus has her doing. But, do you see my point? It is outside of her comfort zone, but it’s not so far out that it’s in another hemisphere.

It’s easy to say all that of course, and much harder to actually believe. Changing the way you think isn’t easy, but I hope to retrain my mind to stop thinking about God like a drill sergeant, and more as a loving Father, who is eagerly wanting to show me more of the “family business,” and let me have a larger role in it.

~ Southern Dreamer

Note: This does not mean that we won’t be challenged when God is asking us to do something, or that we won’t experience difficulties. However, as His children, Jesus is not trying to make us afraid.

 

Your Guide To College Fashion

To any senior who is planning their wardrobe for college, I thought I would offer my two cents on what ACTUAL college students wear during the year. After all, you don’t want to waste any more money than you’re already having to fork out for the university. Ahem 😛 Anyway, without further ado…

*Cue dramatic music*

THE MAJOR FASHION-WEAR FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS ISSSSSS…

………..

t-shirts! exercise pants! nike shorts! tennis shoes! repeat!

Literally, 90% of the time, everyone – including myself – is wearing workout gear to and from classes. The only time I’m not wearing Nike shorts and a t-shirt, well, exercise pants and a long-sleeve now that it’s finally getting chillier, is when I attend church on Sunday. I love dressing up though, so that’s always fun!

Here are some cute t-shirts brands I love!

Southern Shirt Company

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Simply Southern

LS-UNISEX-CRAB-MOONRISE LS-LETALL-MOONRISE

Southern Marsh

Southern Fried Cotton

Welcome Home - Long Sleeve blog4

If you like any of these examples, check out their websites below! You can also find some at Kinnican’s, along with other brands and designs. No need to fret if you don’t have a Kinnican’s in your town, you can find their website at https://www.kinnucans.com/. They have tons of awesome clothing and other cool items! I even found a dress there on sale one time for $15! Can I get an amen from my fellow shopping lovers? 😉

https://southernfriedcotton.com/

https://www.southernmarsh.com/

http://simplysoutherntees.com/

https://www.southernshirt.com/

Those are my suggestions for finding some practical (and stylish!) college clothing. Are there any other stores that y’all love to shop at to find cute active wear? Let me know in the comments!

~ Southern Dreamer