The Greatest Showman faced much criticism for choosing to center the story around a not-so-great person, fabricating history to create something more wholesome, almost as though it’s romanticizing P.T. Barnum. But to enjoy a charming film with a stellar cast led by Hugh Jackman, this writer pretends that the story isn’t based on someone real. As a musical with catchy, incredible songs, there’s something achingly uplifting about The Greatest Showman’s “From Now On” that’s worth breaking down.
It’s not so much about redemption as it is about family and the clear understanding of who all this was for, as the lyrics note. These creations were meant for his family and the family he grew to find in the circus, giving each of them a home where they’d be safe to be whoever they wanted, despite the cuts outside voices would attempt.
The Greatest Showman’s “From Now On” features one of the most prominent choreographic moments in the film, appearing to be simple yet so achingly evocative as it brings to light the joy of finding a place to belong with people to lean on. It becomes a collaborative moment that promises that the people in this room, including Anne and Phillip in the hospital, will always look out for each other wherever they are. This number is no longer about a fight to ensure that they are seen, but this is the fight to promise that they’re in this together.
Through this song and the choreography, we’re looking into the eyes of people who care more deeply than anyone could even dare to imagine, understanding that their experiences make them stronger and kinder as human beings in a world where their patience and bravery are consistently tested. It’s about the chances they’re willing to tirelessly take on each other and the home they’ve built after seemingly never-ending hurdles, coming to dawn in the face of a literal fire. It’s proof that this is the moment where dreams become theirs for the taking as they choose to love in the face of adversaries.
And while the message is relatively straightforward, it’s the choreography that beautifully showcases how they’re each willing to look out for one another. Through the changes in partners, the throws and catches, and the observant glances, we can see that the word family isn’t something they use lightly. They’d give everything to each other, their bodies included, their hearts, and their devotion. The Greatest Showman’s “From Now On” is a more significant spectacle than anything they can put on for the world because this is theirs alone. It’s an intimate reflection of how they feel on the inside and the mark they have on each other because of the love they share.
It’s loud and boisterous, the dance moves aren’t quiet or calm, but the beauty lies in the intimacy that pours through in the steadfast loyalty they anchor their every move in. Through every move, they’re promising pieces of themselves to the people who see the best of them, wanting nothing more than to bask in the gloriousness of each other’s presence.