Hamilton Movie Review
I want to be in the room where it happens. With the Disney+ release of Hamilton, just about anyone can now catch up with the wildly popular play… albeit not literally in the room where it happens. As someone who put off shelling out hundreds of dollars to see the play—unlike my absolutely addicted friend who I am pretty sure has spent thousands to see the play multiple times, in multiple countries, and probably drinks Monster energy drinks so she can stay up all night watching it on repeat, trembling in caffeine-riddled delight—and then put off the filmed event for another month before watching it on TV, I can finally certify, because no one else has been able to up to this point, that Hamilton is worth the wait.
The musical numbers are stupendous. While a few songs linger in slightly generic Broadway melody territory (few if any plays are immune from this), the creativity of the rest and the passionate delivery of each should be commended. Dosed with subtle humor but primarily and simply vibrant, nearly every song draws you in. That’s quite a feat.
Oddly, the play’s biggest on stage weakness is creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s fine, but both his range and his character—the title character, no less—pale in comparison to the rest of the cast (highlighted by Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr., and Jonathan Groff. That’s not to say he doesn’t have some great numbers… but it is strange that all of the best parts belong to others.
Even still, Miranda’s overall talent is never in question. Hamilton is superbly written, complex, informative, entertaining and oft enthralling, and while he isn’t the only one responsible for executing this achievement, he is the source, the genius behind it all.
Also odd… but for a play as diversely cast as this, my favorite moments were the solos from the Groff’s King George.
There has been some debate by the 1% who give a damn as to whether Hamilton is a movie or simply a recording of a play performed several years ago. In my opinion, and of course it’s only my opinion you should trust, the delineation simply doesn’t matter; in a year where entertainment channels have blurred, this stage play brought to screen has a cinematic feel and vibrancy that extends beyond the limit of its stage. More importantly, it’s damn entertaining, and that’s why you should want to be in the room where it happens.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.