Don’t say no to this movie: a 'Hamilton' review

Emily Bush

Arts & Lifestyle Editor

As a friend of former high school theatre kids, I have had “Hamilton” recommended to me a million times. They would repeatedly tell me that the songs were beautiful, moving, empowering, fun, and the complete opposite of songs that I normally associated with the musical scene.

Enter Disney+. I put time aside this summer, mainly because of quarantine, and I finally watched it to fulfill the burning curiosity. I was immediately enthralled by the music and blown away by the talent of everyone who helped in the production of “Hamilton.”

“Hamilton” is a musical developed by a small group of people, mainly one man named Lin Manuel-Miranda who has since gone on to write music for Disney productions like Moana. It tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton, the “ten-dollar Founding Father,” before, during, and after the Revolutionary War.

The music varies in style extensively, and some songs can even be applied to one’s own life outside of the context of “Hamilton.”

The original cast of Hamilton at a curtain call. Left to right: Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr), Philippa Soo (Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton), Lin Manuel-Miranda (Alexander Hamilton), and Christopher Jackson (George Washington). Image courtesy of

One of my personal favorite songs deals with the Residence Act of July 16, 1790, which handed the nation’s capital to present-day Washington D.C. (The Room Where It Happens, featuring Aaron Burr as the main singer).

Not only have I learned a lot more about the history I once studied, I enjoyed learning it again with the flashy dancing, brilliant costumes, and amazing actors and actresses.

One of “Hamilton’s” biggest accomplishments is the fact that a large majority of the cast are people of color. With the Broadway scene being so whitewashed in the present day, “Hamilton” is a big refresher, especially with rap music that is usually only a brief one or two songs in other musicals.

The musical also gives every actor a chance to shine and sends the message that no matter who you are or how small your impact “history has its eyes on you,” in the words of George Washington.

While the musical has plenty of reasons to love it, the cast, and the music, it does have its flaws, especially with the way the world is today. “Hamilton” takes a small stance on the issue of slavery being the reality and economy of the 18th century, but it does little more than gloss over it rather than dive into the issue, account for it, or even contest it.

A few songs feature John Laurens fighting against slavery, and glorifies the founding of America and how great life could be in New York City, “the greatest city in the world” according to the Schuyler sisters.

In conclusion, I think “Hamilton” is a wonderful piece of media to critique and enjoy at the same time.

The musical itself has its faults when it comes to historical inaccuracies and its handle on deep topics like slavery and illegitimate children (while Eliza established the first private orphanage in New York City, she did not accept illegitimate children despite her husband’s past).

So, because of these elements along with bopping music, a beautiful set, and perfect casting, I give my official rating of 9.75/10. Bravo to Hamilton for being the musical that got me into musicals.

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