"Claws out, kitties," Taylor Swift wrote on Instagram on Monday night, signaling the flood of Cats-related content to come with that evening's New York premiere. Up until then, no one really knew what to expect—not even the film's director, Tom Hooper, who told Variety that he had actually only finished the film the day before.
Of course, that only made social media spectators even more trepidatious about the film's ultimate outcome—and that's quite an accomplishment, seeing as the trailers for Cats have been, to say the least, not for the faint of heart. The embargo for official reviews is still in effect—it lifts on Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST—but we now have something of an idea of what it's like to spend nearly two hours in the company of singing, "digital fur"-covered creatures played by actors who've somehow retained their very human noses and lips.
According to one attendee, Alan Henry—a self-described "Cats musical unofficial fan club president"—the movie does not disappoint. "The CATS movie is the strangest, most bewildering, queerest, magical, and spectacular cinematic experience I have ever had," they tweeted. "I am not sure what just happened but I know that it was something worth experiencing."
Rebecca Rubin and Caroline Framke, both writers for Variety, were much more skeptical. "It brings me no pleasure to report that CATS is way too horny for its own good," Framke tweeted, prompting a flood of replies (some of which pointed out that that could be said of the original Cats as well).
Variety's Ramin Setoodeh also weighed in. "Having seen #CatsMovie, the Academy's failure to include 'Beautiful Ghosts' on the original song shortlist was a bad move. Obviously, voters left it off because 'Cats' hadn't screened yet. But the song -- a bookend to 'Memory' -- is great. I already can't get it out of my head." (His commentary earned a retweet from Tree Paine, Swift's longtime publicist.)
Lin-Manuel Miranda didn't get nearly as specific, but he, too, shared his thoughts—initially via a photo of his and the actress Natalie Walker's post-premiere facial expressions, which fall somewhere behind ecstatic and shocked. He also obliged to answer two queries from his followers—one of whom asked him to sum up the film in the single emoji, and one of whom asked if it was scary. "I think it's probably scary for kids under six and adults who describe themselves as 'not really into musicals,'" he responded.
Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski also joined in on the fun. "GURL!! That @catsmovie was an instant classic," Van Ness wrote on Instagram. "The whole cast was magical, I cried twice, all while serving a modern queer Robin Hood & Antoni serving hit me baby one more time Britney. It was a gorgeous night." Porowski, on the other hand, kept it neutral: "Seeing Cats didn’t cure my allergy but still worth it."