Hamilton Movie Review Rating: 4.5/5 Stars (Four and half stars)
Star Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Rénee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jonathan Groff, and ensemble
Director: Thomas Kail
What’s Good: Everything. Your history textbook is singing, and you better pay attention this time around.
What’s Bad: Nothing for a lover of musicals, almost everything for the ones who aren’t.
Loo Break: The long runtime may call for one, but you won’t need it as a refuge.
Watch or Not?: If Broadway is your thing and musicals hook you, you have no reason to wait for, tune in! But strictly if you can sit through and have to ability to grasp this art form.
Originally a Broadway musical that released back in 2015 and later acquired by Disney, Hamilton is a live shot version of the same. Based on Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America, Hamilton traces his journey from an unimportant immigrant to the one who sits on the highest chair.
Hamilton was set to release on the big screen but the pandemic brought it to our homes. I wish I had the privilege to watch it in the theatre, though live is a dream!
Hamilton Movie Review: Script Analysis
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s written and acted Hamilton releases at the correct time. Not because it’s the independence week there, but because of the unrest America is facing right now. In the very first scene, Alexander Hamilton is introduced as an immigrant, he bonds with black guys in New York. The film/musical consciously places these two elements and shows the mirror how the two most oppressed communities right now, played a massive role in shaping the country then.
Miranda who wrote the play inspired from a book, doesn’t take the classic route. Rather, he colours this period drama with strokes of hip hop and various other pop elements. When Eliza Hamilton played by Phillipa Soo breaks into beatboxing, you see the writer-lyricist-actor Miranda placing the new age references just right. Maybe this was his way of showing how the times are still the same and America belongs to all. Maybe.
Though based on real life, the story has politics, drama, infidelity, feud, and a climax that stings deep. Meanwhile, as I review this for the Indian audience, Hamilton may be a difficult ride for many. Cultural references, the runtime in itself, and the constant music (India is yet to adapt to a complete musical format) may turn out to be alien to quite a few. Actually, the runtime did bother me a bit, but the actor compensated.
Hamilton Movie Review: Star Performance
Reports tell me this was shot sometime back in June last year during a live show with a live audience. People, it’s a 2-hour 41-minute film, and I cannot imagine these actors being on their toes for that time. Yes, I did read the fact that it was shot over three days, but the process seems insane. Lin-Manuel Miranda is an artist who has given his soul to this Broadway and you can see that in his eyes as he performs. Just like his perfectly gelled hair, he does not let a single strand go loose.
Hamilton includes a cast that deserves to be celebrated, even the dancers-actors that play an integral part. My favourite is Daveed Diggs. This man lightens up the screen every single time he appears and what attitude! Boy, you score full marks.
Phillipa Soo in her subtle part wins the stage with her surreal beauty. Rénee Elise Goldsberry’s beautiful curls and mysterious eyes already have my heart.
As reported and also observed, the cast includes a lot of people of colour. This is a huge step and we appreciate it.
Hamilton Movie Review: Direction, Music
Director Thomas Kail should now reveal the number of sleepless nights that went into directing this magnum opus. This isn’t your normal feature film, it is a live continuous stage choreography, where even a single mistake could cost you the show. Kail does this job with brilliance, as he not just places these characters right, but also decides the almost effortless flow.
It’s a stage, Mise-en-scéne plays a major role. The backdrop very much remains the same, the lights and the actors’ position makes the difference. Thomas, art/production designer, and cinematographer Declan Quinn define the term correctly. (You have to Google what that term means!)
Hamilton’s music honestly deserves a different dedicated review. As said it is not restricted to the era it is set in. There’s Hip Hop, Beat Boxing, Rap, Rap Battles and I might have even missed a few. It is bringing several cultures under one roof and making them all look immaculate. Rénee Elise Goldsberry’s voice out of all is magic. Hear her out when she sings ‘The Schuyler Sister’. My favourite track without any doubt is the ‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story’.
Hamilton Movie Review: The Last Word
If you are a fan, it’s an experience like no other. If you want to learn, it’s your textbook performing. Moreover, its education while you are entertained and honestly not many of us can afford a Broadway ticket! Go watch this one on Disney+ and on Disney+ Hotstar in India.
Hamilton releases on 03rd July, 2020.
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