Hamilton

Runtime : 160 mins

Genre : History Drama

Vote Rating : 8.2/10


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Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : Presenting the tale of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, this filmed version of the original Broadway smash hit is the story of America then, told by America now.

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Reviews

A Disappointment This is a musical not made for people outside of the USA. I had to watch the thing again and wiki Hamilton to try to figure out who was who except for some of the bigger names. Going by the poster, this is was meant to be some attempted rise to fame of Harry Potter in Hollywood. The casting was varied, which is great generally, but not representative of history (noone looked like what they should have). Historical themes seemed to be swapped around and added in for convenience-sake. Some performances were good, Soo, Groff and Diggs, whilst others (MIranda - who was better in Mary Poppins Returns) just felt flat and tired. It felt like 6 or so cameras were placed and then just recorded. And the choreography was distracting at times, not complimentary. And character development - the only one who shows any is Soo's character. This might be a great musical, but it is not a great movie (despite what people are reviewing it as). It is hard to follow as a citizen of the world who does not know US political history details nor its players. Its cinematography, casting and set pieces felt lazy (this could have been turned into grand cinema). And it was overly long...people might expect this type of thing to go for hours on West End to get their money's worth, but 2hrs 40 is overkill in this medium. The hype behind this made me think this was brilliant. I was majorly disappointed.

I suppose this movie was behind the eight ball from the very start in a way. On the one hand, there was such a tremendous hype for it as a play, it built the expectation of being blown away, and on the other hand, it being presented in its live theater version made it lose some of the visual impact of seeing it in person. We expect a greater production value on the screen. The story is great, and should be required viewing for children at a certain age. I confess, I wasn’t enthralled by it as a musical. I guess I am too used to musicals that have regular dialogue broken up by songs rather than continuous sung dialogue. If there had been dialogue surroundIng eight or ten lovely songs like Helpless, I would have given it top marks. It is still an impressive production. I feel I have to comment on the diverse cast. I am white and had no problem with the cast choices. I would have cried foul if they had presented an all white cast as some seem to think was required. I had an acquaintance complain, “What if they cast a white actor as Martin Luther King? And all I can do is flip it upside down. There are only a half-dozen people of color in our history books for every hundred Caucasians, and if it reaches the point where whites stop whining when people of color play those roles, I am convinced that people of color will be totally fine with whites playing the roles of people of color. But we aren’t there yet, are we?

This is not a Movie. It is a television program. It is a filmed stage play that is being broadcast on television. These things do not add up to this being a film, not even a TV-movie.

"My name is Alexander Hamilton/And there's a million things I haven't done/But just you wait, just you wait," Lin-Manuel Miranda sort of sings at the beginning of Hamilton. About three hours later we're still waiting. Hamilton is divided into two acts. The first covers Hamilton's arrival in New York City in 1776, his work as General George Washington's aide-de-camp during the American Revolution, and how he met and married Eliza Schuyler. The second covers Hamilton's postwar work as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury and his death in a duel with Aaron Burr. The first act is strictly hagiographic; Hamilton is so messianic that Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.) might as well be called Judas. Watching the meteoric rise of the protagonist's military and political career unfold in song and dance form, I began to experience a revelation; if they changed the historical pe-riod and characters, this could easily become Forrest Gump: The Musical. We never really get a sense of why Hamilton was so special, important, and essential in the lives of so many people; his success seems to be the result of a geographical-temporal accident — that is to say, Hamilton is always in the right place at the right time. Miranda has allegedly written songs with many adjectives and very few verbs; lyrics that care more about the 'what' than the 'how' and 'why'. "How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore/And a Scots-man, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot/In the Caribbean by providence impoverished/In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?" That’s a good question, deserving of a better answer than "by working a lot harder/By being a lot smarter/By being a self-starter." And, apparently, by being vague as all hell. Hamilton thus moves from one plot point to the next as in a dream, without ever conjuring up a precise image of the cha-racter's trajectory. The second act is more specific about Hamilton's legacy; the character stops just 'being' and starts 'doing.' There is, however, another problem here. The real Hamilton was more a man of words than actions, and his writings must surely be fascinating to the appropriate reader; on the other hand, one doesn’t read him for the sheer entertainment value. To mention just one example, Hamilton helped ratify the United States Constitution by writing 51 of the 85 essays known as The Federalist Papers, which are still used as one of the most important references for the interpretation of the Constitution. This is almost as impressive as it is boring, and all the hip hop choreography in the world can't change the fact that Miranda's alleged songs, although true to the spirit of the statesman who inspired them, are devoid of all trace of showmanship. These are long, heavily expository litanies, laden with facts and dates, as if written by a high school student who can’t remember his History otherwise. Meanwhile, King George III of England (Jona-than Groff, who steals the show in his too brief and few appearances) is depicted as a buffoon, but has the catchiest song in the entire production. All of the above notwithstanding, Hamilton's biggest flaw is Miranda himself. As a composer he clearly favors quantity over quality, but a performer with authority and presence might have been able, with a superhuman effort, to elevate the author's pedestrian material. Miranda is very far from being that performer; his dancing can be generously described as spastic, and his singing is more of an irritating nasal whine, as if he inhaled helium before each number — as opposed to the oxygen for which he visibly gasps as he tries to sing and dance at the same time. Oh, and to be perfectly non-PC, his physical resemblance to the Bumblebee Man from The Simp-sons isn’t very pleasing either. All things considered, Miranda surrounds himself with a wonderful cast; so wonderful indeed that each individual member, as well as the ensemble as a whole, outshines the star, who is exposed as a black hole of charisma and talent that sucks all the joy out of singing and dancing.

If you didn't know going in, this isn't either a film or a TV show. It's a recording of the Broadway play of the same name. Admittedly, this play is for Americans who already have some idea of history. That probably excludes the younger generations, since the public school systems have gone south with years of Republican under-funding. (Seriously, some teachers make less than burger flippers.) As a stage actor and a history buff, I loved this play and am so sorry I didn't get a chance to see it on Broadway. There are multiple reasons I gave this a nine, the major of which is that I'm rating it as a play, not a film. First, I was blown away by the creativity. There is no spoken dialogue which is unusual for a musical. Second, it's done nearly all in hip-hop/rap, with one set-piece even in slam battle. The staging is great. Kudos for creative use of a turntable. I was blown away by the amazing, seemingly complicated, "rewind" scene. Yes, it may or may not be historically accurate. (History, or "his-story" is written by the victors, isn't it?) It's good story telling. It's political. It's fun and it's touching.

I guess it's a musical, and the world needs more of them, so there is that going for it. And I guess the races are swapped so... that is supposed to make it really good for reasons that aren't really clear. But, really, it's void of wit and insight, it is completely insulting to history with the only thing that seems accurate and true to life is that Hamilton existed and was Secretary of State And the views expressed by Hamilton are the least Hamiltonian views you're ever going to see. If you've ever read him, you kind of wonder if this is based on the same Alexander Hamilton. 1776 got a LOT of history wrong for artistic liberties, but at least the theme was accurate and it got more right than wrong. Hamilton doesn't even try. It's the story of Hamilton written by people that haven't even heard of his Report on Manufacturing and the economy he created.

What a load of rubbish, trying too much to be edgy it became disgusting

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