‘In the Heights’ (2021) | Movie Review

‘In The Heights’ is the new musical from the great Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed by ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu. This is the story of Washington Heights, a community in New York full of love, heritage, music, and life. Every person has a dream, and this musical aims to showcase each of their stories with incredible dancing, singing, and representation that makes this the standout film of the summer!

When I was growing up in St. George, I would often be backstage of a musical I was in, listening to songs from the original Broadway show created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. From that time to now, the whole world has gotten the unique and genius style of musical storytelling Miranda has shown with his follow-up smash hit ‘Hamilton’. When it was revealed ‘In The Heights’ would be getting the film treatment before ‘Hamilton’ I was skeptical that it would be as timely or impactful it could be, but I am happy to report I was so so wrong.

Anthony Ramos, who also played the lead character ‘Usnavi’ in the Broadway version, is trying to get back to his home to start his family’s business. He owns the local bodega and we are introduced to our cast through a surreal and upbeat opening number as ‘Usnavi’ serves each character at his store. The choreography in the songs matches the beat of the music right down to the smallest details like a broom sweeping, or a door opening and closing. No doubt the dancing will be one of the biggest standouts for people watching this.

The music is addicting, hip-shaking, and will be on everyone’s Spotify playlists this year. This movie has a feeling of family and community that everyone desperately needs to feel now. I loved the characters and how each of their stories was unique but all have the same theme of fighting for a dream. You will fall in love and be heartbroken in one song that is felt more than heard in a very impactful way. The ending of the movie does feel a bit baggy, where there are a lot of wrap-up moments that could’ve been condensed more.

If you haven’t seen a movie this year because you’ve not felt any have merited a visit to your local Megaplex, now is the time to go. ‘In The Heights’ is a film enhanced by a crowd and a communal experience because its themes of community and togetherness are so strong. The music will have you shaking your hips in your seat, and maybe for a couple of hours, you can escape into this beautiful world and come out learning something and emotionally filled.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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