I didn’t like Hamilton the first time I watched it. The music felt unoriginal, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s face and voice were annoying me, and I didn’t follow the plot.
But…I loved the ending and really liked the women in the show, especially Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton. I liked them so much it made me ponder whether or not I had made some sort of mistake. So, I waited a couple of days and watched it again.
Upon second viewing, I loved Hamilton from start to finish, and Miranda grew on me to the point that I found him adorable. Not sure what happened the first time; perhaps I was distracted, perhaps I was just grouchy. This sort of thing has happened only once or twice in 25 years of film reviewing (Most notably, my about-face on Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas).
During the second viewing, my brain clicked on to 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 founding fathers played by multiple ethnicities, often rapping. The cast is superb, including Miranda as the title character, Leslie Odom, Jr. as friend-turned-enemy Aaron Burr, and a host of performers sometimes playing two parts.
MVP winner for the best comedic turn in the show goes to Jonathan Groff as the sassy King George, so assured the American colonies will be back under his reign and, yes, gloriously spitting while singing in vivid HD.
As good as everybody is, Soo steals her every scene and gives the musical major heart. She’s the reason I took a breath, took the time, watched the show again, and realized my near mistake. Hamilton is the gem it was rumored to be.