A confession: I didn’t like Hamilton the first time I watched it on Disney+. The music felt unoriginal; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s face and voice were annoying me; and I had problems following the plot.
But … I loved the ending, and really liked the women in the show, especially Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton. I liked those so much that it made me ponder whether I had made some sort of mistake. So, I waited a couple of days and watched it again.
During that second viewing, I loved Hamilton from start to finish—and Miranda grew on me to the point that I found him adorable. I am not sure what happened the first time; perhaps I was distracted, or perhaps I was just grouchy. (These are tough times, after all.) This sort of thing has happened to me only a couple of times over 25 years of film reviewing. (I made a similar about-face on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.)
That second time, my brain clicked into the Hamilton frequency. I heard all of the lyrics; the melodies jumped out at me; and the choreography was stunning. It’s deserving of all the hype, and boasts a boldly original concept. The cast is superb, including Miranda as the title character, Leslie Odom Jr. as friend-turned-enemy Aaron Burr, and a host of talented performers, often playing two parts.
The Best Comedic Turn Award goes to Jonathan Groff as the sassy King George—so confident the American colonies will be back under his reign, and gloriously spitting while singing in vivid HD.
As good as everybody is, Soo steals every one of her scenes and gives the musical major heart. She’s the reason I took a breath and watched the show again—allowing me to realize my near mistake. The filmed version of the Hamilton musical is the gem it was rumored to be.
Hamilton is now streaming on Disney+.