So, I know probably half of you are waiting to hear what I thought of the Hamilton film on Disney+, and the other half are ready to hear me never talk about Hamilton again for the rest of your lives. I address this post to the first half. 🙂
Now of course you know I loved it, so I will cut to the chase: how does it compare to seeing it live? I would say, on the whole, it compares very favorably. So if you never got a chance to see the show, you don’t have to feel bad!
In fact, I would say of the 4 times I saw Hamilton, watching the movie is most similar to the time I got to sit in the front row. The thing that really struck me about sitting that close is how much acting is actually going on. It absolutely floored me how much funnier lines were, how much sadder scenes were, when you can see their faces. And here the film excels, getting you close ups better than what you can see from the front row.
(To say nothing of the spitting. As I mentioned at the time, people in the front row get spit on. Well, now you all get to share that with me! Boy was I not exaggerating.)
So I cried the first 2 times I saw Hamilton in the theater, and then not the next 2. But because of the phenomenal performance from the actors, I did cry again when I saw the movie. Specifically Phillipa Soo; her face just really got to me. The anguish when her son died…even knowing it was coming, she still got me.
In fact, I would say that was another aspect where the film really excelled: I was excited to see some specific people, particularly Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr., but I was blown away by everybody. Renée Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo somehow overshadowed a really amazing cast. I have been blessed with seeing some really talented actors here in Chicago (I know a lot of people are going to kill me over this, but I think Jin Ha was a better / funnier King George than Jonathan Groff), but it wasn’t consistent across the entire cast. The original cast, as depicted in the film, truly were an amazing collection of individuals. Each and every performance is a can’t miss, each performer a superstar. Just stellar.
If I had to say one bad thing about the film it would be that I really honestly enjoy the background choreography and movements of the set itself almost as much as the main performers. It’s certainly present in the film (the visuals of Hurricane are just masterful), but you do sacrifice a bit of the wide view in exchange for intimate closeups.
Still, on the whole it is a good exchange, and it is an excellent way to experience Hamilton.
Highly recommended (but you already knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)