“The Greatest Showman” Gets the Honest Trailer Treatment

Honest Trailers is a recurring feature from Screen Junkies on YouTube. Like its name suggests, each example provides interested individuals with an “honest” look at either a particular movie or a particular kind of movie while tossing in plenty of humor in the process. As a result, for people with strong feelings about particular movies, it can be more than worthwhile to check out the latest Honest Trailers. The latest example is focused on The Greatest Showman, which was the Hugh Jackson-led musical based in a very loose sense on P.T. Barnum’s life.

What Can People Expect From the Honest Trailer of The Greatest Showman?

Overall, the Honest Trailer made some jokes about various aspects of The Greatest Showman. For example, there was an opening joke about it being a movie meant for people who really loved theatre back in school, which was rather unusual in a movie market dominated by superhero movies and the like. However, the bulk of the jokes were based on how The Greatest Showman glossed over the numerous faults of its hero in preference for making him appealing to the audience.

For example, the Honest Trailer pointed out that P.T. Barnum exploited a lot of disadvantaged people by selling tickets so that the public could gawk at them. Moreover, the trailer pointed out that instead of focusing on said individuals, the movie went out of its way to focus on a fictitious romance involving two very able-bodied and very good-looking individuals. Granted, the couple were black and white, meaning that their relationship would’ve been the target of crushing social censure and likely worse in those times. However, that subject is best-covered in its own movie, particularly since it sidelined a lot of people disadvantaged in other ways in the process.

Likewise, the Honest Trailer pointed out some of P.T. Barnum’s nastier deeds as well as various ways that his life was made to sound better than it was, though for reasons of brevity, it didn’t actually go into detail on these decisions. For example, the trailer mentioned that P.T. Barnum owned a slave at one point in time, but it didn’t go into detail about how he did so by exploiting a loophole in a state that had banned the institution of slavery at that time, forced her to work between 10 and 12 hours on a daily basis in spite of the fact that she was significantly paralyzed by her advanced age, and after she died, sold tickets to a public autopsy of her body. Similarly, the trailer mentioned the fictitious nature of P.T. Barnum’s relationship with Jenny Lind, who in real history, was so distressed by the man’s relentless commercialism that she actually convinced him to reduce prices for seats at her concerts.

Summed up, the Honest Trailer for The Greatest Showman skewered the movie for the sheer lengths to which it had gone to whitewash its protagonist, thus resulting in some unfortunate messages to say the least. Of course, the real man wasn’t wholly bad, as shown by his opposition to the institution of slavery when he was a member of the Connecticut legislature, but on the whole, there can be no doubt about the fact that an honest treatment of the man’s life would’ve left modern viewers horrified rather than uplifted and inspired. Regardless, the Honest Trailer was well done, meaning that it is well worth a look.


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