It’s here! Jubilant, unapologetically large, and bursting with a melancholic, cozy sense of communal belonging, “In The Heights” is the biggest screen-you-can-find show in Hollywood that we film lovers have been craving since the early days of the pandemic, when the health crisis broke off. one of the paths of public life we cherish most. A riveting New York film that honors Upper Manhattan’s diverse Latinx community as much as its boisterous source—the multi-award winning stage music that put Lin-Manuel Miranda on the showbiz map before his fame exploded with “Hamilton”—this rousing screen adaptation (with at least one The delightful Easter egg “Hamilton” is ready to welcome you back to your neighborhood cinema with open arms, daring to light up that dark room in a way that’s much bigger and brighter than you might remember.
Yes, it really is an amazing experience, to float weightlessly for nearly 145 minutes of “In The Heights” run time. And don’t let the numbers scare you—everything flies as quickly as a minute in New York, dancing through a usually humid and sweaty summer on the urban island of Washington Heights, which is on the verge of a deadly blackout. Sitting on a beautiful tropical beach and telling his story to a group of adorable children at the beginning of the film (a witty, recurring narrative anchor who decides for a satisfying conclusion), “Streets are made of music,” says the heart of the film and the soul of Usnavi de la Vega. Here, she’s played by your new favorite character, Anthony Ramos, who revives the Broadway role of Miranda in a compelling and star-studded performance after holding on to such impressive parts as “Monsters and Men,” “White Girl,” and “A Star.” is Born.”
This is the shrewdness of the main creative lead, a trio consisting of virtuoso director Jon M. Chu, quirky screenwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes (who also wrote books for stage music and weaves a number of well-built changes into this version) and of course, matchless creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (charismatically plays the street vendor selling iced piragua here), to emphasize the melodic nature of the barrio right at the start. This may sound like an obvious proposition for a production of complex and colorful local rhythms combining rap, hip-hop, and various Latin sounds such as salsa and merengue, with traditional musical theatre. But it was also what gave Chu the precise setting to declare, “Let me show you how!” and to flaunt visual evidence throughout with a disarming disposition and stunning craftsmanship pampering cramped apartments, sun-kissed alleys, beautiful views, fire escapes and one giant public swimming pool. Indeed, as a director who proved his kinetic muscle with the sophisticated romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” (which comes close to the sense of choreographed musicality a non-musical film can get) and is no stranger to dancing in film, thanks in large part to his entry in the “Step” franchise. Up”, Chu will probably turn even the most ferocious.
To go one step further, Chu grandly points out that the softness and ideological breadth of “In The Heights” has always been meant for the big screen in a certain way, rather than the confines of the physical stage. immediate dream of returning to the island he considers paradise, turns the manhole cover like a turntable, bolted the gate into place at a tempo that matched the tumultuous interval, and reflectively watched from inside his bodega as the whole neighborhood sang and danced, welcoming the new day outside his window. And it’s just the opening number, an impassioned introduction to a series of personalities that almost made this Turkish immigrant critic (who call the geographically and culturally contiguous Hamilton Heights just as vibrant for more than a decade) to their feet, beside the loud but calming bursts of fire hydrants. .
That same introduction familiarizes us with the concept of sueñito , a little dream, which is held fast to by everyone who has a leading role in “In The Heights”. For bodega owner Usnavi, his dream is not only to return to the happy Dominican Republic of his childhood, but also, to finally take Vanessa on a scary date. Played with seductive passion by Melissa Barrera, aspiring fashion designer Vanessa on the other hand dreams of leaving her dead-end beauty salon job working alongside level-headed and gossipy women Polanco), and moved to the city center to pursue his passionate career. There’s also smart student Nina Rosario (the super-powerful Leslie Grace), who wants to restore her Latin identity in the midst of her desperate year at predominantly white Stanford. His plans to drop out of college disappoint Kevin (Jimmy Smits), his father who sacrifices his high hopes for him, and surprises Benny (Corey Hawkins, so charming), a strong-willed and energetic operator who works for Kevin’s limousine company. (You guessed it: he and Nina are in love.) Also in the mix, in a much more significant part than in the musical, is Usnavi’s cousin, Sonny (Gregor Diaz IV, lovable), the kind of undocumented Dreamer who doesn’t like in the trenches. Trumpian in the country. (Fans of the original musical will immediately recognize instances where Trump’s name was swapped for Tiger Woods. “When I wrote him he was the avatar for the Monopoly guy. Then as time went on and he became a stain on America’s democracy, you changed the lyrics,” Miranda says. recently to Variety.)