Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Movie review: Hamilton The Musical

Hamilton logo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
star starstar star star
Heat rating:  No heat
Watch it on Disney+

About the movie

The real life of one of America's foremost founding fathers and first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Captured live on Broadway from the Richard Rodgers Theater with the original Broadway cast.


We were planning a trip to the UK and one of the things we wanted to do while there was take in a few shows in the West End. Of course, we had heard how popular and amazing Hamilton was so booked tickets to see it. Just about choked on the price of the tickets but decided it was worth it for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

In preparation for watching the show live, we were told we should listen to the music first with lyrics so we know what they are singing since they sing fast. Acting on this advice, I found a YouTube video of the music and sent the link to Steve. Now, Steve is a huge fan of American history, but not so much a fan of Hamilton. In fact, he struggled with reading a book based around him. However, within the first three minutes of listening to the musical score, he fell instantly in love. He was blown away by the magic and power of the music. I ended up downloading the soundtrack to our phones so he could listen to it while he was out hiking. By the time this show aired on Disney+ I think he's listened to the soundtrack close to a hundred times. By the way, the songs and words were perfectly understandable in the movie and there was no real need to listen to the soundtrack first, but knowing the songs does add to the experience while watching it for the first time.

Sadly, the day before we were scheduled to see the show in London all shows were canceled due to the pandemic and we never got to see it live. We didn't think we'd have the opportunity to see it again until 2021 when the show came to Australia, if the pandemic eased enough for it to open.

Now, there's nothing like watching a show live. The atmosphere. The emotions. But I have to hand it to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the producers of the movie version. I loved the music (of course!) but seeing the show rather than listening to just the studio recording of the soundtrack brought so much more depth to the music. More voices, more characterisation, more dialogue. Seeing the acting filled in gaps in the story that was a little difficult to follow with only listening to the soundtrack. Seeing the show performed adds so much more context to the story. And this being a movie, with the close up shots, it was amazing to see the emotions on everyone's faces which unless you're right up front in the theatre, you won't see.


The music, the score, the composition, the choreography, the story. Everything was nothing short of brilliant. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a freaking genius. And to think he wrote, composed, acted, and sang in the musical is incredible. What amazing talent! I was blown away by his talent. Seeing him transition from a young man at university to a statesman and getting older right before my eyes was incredible. He portrayed the role so well.

Another stand out was Renee Elise Goldsberry who played Angelica Schuyler. What an amazing voice! Her training, her technique, her pitch. It was all perfect.

I didn't like Aaron Burr as a person and what he stood for, but Leslie Odom Jr did the role of Burr proud. I loved every moment of his performance while hating the role of the man he was playing.

I also can't leave out Chris Jackson playing George Washington. His performance and his songs were breathtaking. I love the role he played. I loved the character of Washington and how the music and lyrics were able to reflect the kind of man he was. One who built a legacy and was willing to step down so that the future could take hold.

Daveed Diggs did an amazing job as Thomas Jefferson. I've always had a lot of respect for Thomas Jefferson and Steve is a huge fan of his. He's read tons of books about the man. This performance and portrayal brought out a different side to the man and the opponent of Hamilton. It was a lot of fun.

I was moved, touched, and inspired by the musical and everyone's roles. By the end, I was weepy and teary and emotional. It gave me a much greater appreciation of what the Founding Fathers did for the country. They were not perfect. They had their faults. They didn't all see eye to eye and agree with each other, but they all had one thing in common. The good of the nation. This is how it is meant to me. And I can see how America became great through the eyes of these great men. It saddens me that the country is no longer what it was.

If you love musicals, if you love history, or if you simply love magnificent performances, this is one movie that is not to be missed. Go see it.

PS. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton along with Angelica Schuyler were incredible women. History does not give them enough credit for their contributions and achievements. Go read My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie and revel in their story. And you can read Steve's Manview on the book here.

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