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In the Heights Movie Review

In the Heights Movie Review
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"In the Heights," based on the stage play by Lin-Manuel Miranda, seems like the kind of movie that's rapidly becoming extinct. Sure, we get many stage-to-screen adaptations - including several just last year and more to come this year - but the old-fashioned spirit of "In the Heights" is what seems rare these days: it's a big studio musical about people who occupy a very specific place in this country. Like most musicals, "Heights" isn't about a strict plot structure; instead it's a free-flowing celebration of the people who inhabit the story. Director John M. Chu's (who last directed the smash hit "Crazy Rich Asians") adaptation is likely to come with a built-in audience familiar with Miranda's pre-"Hamilton" show, but it's also likely to win over those completely unfamiliar with the material.

The title refers to the movie's setting of Washington Heights, the part of New York City that Miranda is from. "In the Heights" is his love letter to his neighborhood, his family and their history, and the people who live in the neighborhood and become family by extension. In a bona fide star-making performance, Anthony Ramos stars as Usnavi, a bodega owner who is recalling his story later in his life. Usnavi has big dreams of his own that would take him outside of the country, but his connection to Washington Heights is deep and personal. As much as someone may want to leave where they grew up, that place will always be home.

Through the joyous song and dance, we meet all the people who are a part of Usnavi's life. He works everyday with his young cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV), tries to impress his crush Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), and takes care of his Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), who isn't even his real grandmother, but serves as the block's grandmother. The cast also includes Corey Hawkins as Benny, Usnavi's best friend; Leslie Grace as Nina, Benny's on-and-off girlfriend; and Jimmy Smits as her father, who wants a better life for his daughter than he ever had.

Ramos serves as Miranda's avatar in the story, but him being the film's leading man doesn't take away from every character getting a moment, a musical number, or plotline to shine. "In the Heights" is about the kaleidoscope of life, and everyone who is a part of that makes an impact. Each number, no matter the performer, allows their story to deepen. Some musical numbers are more memorable than others, but one standout is Abuela Claudia's "Paciencia y Fé," which slows down from the more upbeat songs.

"In the Heights" runs just under two-and-a-half hours, but Chu and his editor Myron Kerstein keep a breezy pace so the movie never feels like it overstays its welcome. The whole film is a visual treat, popping with bright colors that aid the overall spirit of this celebration of culture. It's a strange comparison, but throughout "In the Heights," Spike Lee's masterpiece "Do the Right Thing" comes to mind. The two films might have different stories and tones, but they both ignite the senses with immersive experiences set in the dead of summer: you can feel the heat from the New York City pavement radiating off the screen.

It's unforgivably corny and clichéd to say, but "In the Heights" is why we go to the movies. Chu's film is a big-screen spectacle, an ode to culture and lived experiences for some, and an opportunity to understand and empathize for those who do not regularly share what's portrayed on screen. Movies should transport us and give us a chance to walk in shoes that aren't one's own. That's why we go to the movies, and that's "In the Heights."

"In the Heights" is currently in theaters and on HBO Max

In the Heights Review By Matthew Passantino
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
In the Heights Movie Review In the Heights Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Rating: 5

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