Taking the kids to the movies over the holiday break is a traditon for our family. Once my daughters heard Hugh Jackman singing on YouTube, they were begging to see The Greatest Showman. Since it was a PG movie, we decided to go for it and took the whole family. But was The Greatest Showman suitable for children? Here is my The Greatest Showman Parent Movie Review. Affiliate links are included in this post.
My youngest daughter is particularly dramatic. She loves to dance and sing and essentially act silly whenever she can.
Theater bound, I am sure! As either a performer or just an avid fan remains to be seen.
This was no surprise to me that she heard this clip of Hugh Jackman playing from my computer and came running in to watch it with me.
After this- there was no stopping the daily requests to see The Greatest Showman. By her … and me!
I had a few reservations due to PT Barnum’s history but decided to take the whole family and be prepared for deep discussions afterward.
The Greatest Showman Parent Movie Review
I’ll start The Greatest Showman review by acknowledging the elephant in the room (ha ha).
Barnum himself wasn’t the best role model in many ways (to put it mildly) and he certainly exploited the people in his show. To what extent they accepted it or were “ok” with it, I honestly can’t say as I haven’t done that level of research.
But I do know that this was not a guy I would typically hold up as an example to my kids on how to get ahead.
However, I knew going in that much of the story was focusing on the positive aspects of his journey, and that there were some good lessons about not giving up and acceptance to be learned in the movie. It made for a good discussion before the movie about how movies don’t always tell the full story even when based on historical events.
That being said, we went into the movie hoping to be entertained. We were not expecting a documentary or all the gritty details.
We were absolutely entertained!
Movie synopsis from 20th Century Fox:
“The Greatest Showman” is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder we feel when dreams come to life. Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, “The Greatest Showman” tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. “The Greatest Showman” is directed by exciting new filmmaker, Michael Gracey, with songs by Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land”) and starring Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman. Jackman is joined by Zac Efron, Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya.
If you are a lover of musical theater, you will feel right at home during this show. Our entire audience clapped with enthusiastic appreciation as the last notes of the movie’s finale number faded.
There was just enough edge with the storyline to feel substantial, but honestly, we were there for the singing and dancing. And the entire cast shined.
This is one of those movies I’ll need to see multiple time in order to catch every single detail of each performer because you truly wanted to watch every single performance, not just Hugh and Zac (though they were oh so breathtaking!).
In fact, I’ve been listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack over and over again all week— wishing I was watching it in the theater! The visuals are stunning so don’t pass this up on the big screen if you can.
How did it work for the kids? Was The Greatest Showman kid-friendly?
The Greatest Showman Parent Movie Review For Kids By Age
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My kids are 14, 12, 10 and 6. Here are my recommendations for each age based on my children’s maturity levels. Is The Greatest Showman kid-friendly?
There were few swear words and no nudity.
There was some violence (a fight scene, a fire breaks out) but no deaths or gory images to worry about here.
Teen/Tweens (encompassing my three oldest ages) Should be good to go without question here.
Unless they are highly sensitive, children in this age range will be able to follow the story and enjoy it. They should also be able to understand the nuances regarding an interracial romance (taboo at the time).
I appreciated that the movie gently showed how Barnum fell out of grace with the very people responsible for his success and thought it was an important lesson for my children of this age.
6 to 9-years old Depends on the maturity level.
My youngest is 6 and she was the one who was most excited to go.
In her case, she sang, danced in her seat, and can’t stop talking about the whole experience! But I was expecting that from her, to be honest.
I knew we’d have to explain a few things to her that she just doesn’t understand in her innocence, but the lessons were nothing I felt she couldn’t handle when boiled down to simple lessons (accepting others who may not look or act like you; taking care of your family and friends is more important than being rich and famous).
5 and Under This movie has a lot of songs in it! If that is not going to hold your kiddo’s attention, then you might want to skip this one.
If you have a little one who doesn’t sit for movies at home, wait for this one on video. Get a sitter and see it yourselves (hey, skip work if you have to because it’s THAT good!) but it might be too much for kiddos this age.
I don’t think kids this age will pick up on some of the nuances that the 6-9-year-olds might ask questions about, however. My kids were not that deep at this age, if you know what I mean.
I say proceed with caution in this age range. It’s not terrible but it is rated PG so keep that in mind.
Patty Holliday is a parent movie reviewer, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews. As a lifelong fangirl and pop culture connoisseur, she’s been creating online since 2009. You can find her work at No-Guilt Disney.com, No-Guilt Fangirl.com, No-Guilt Life, and as host of the top-rated No-Guilt Disney Podcast.