If you love Lin Manuel Miranda’s musicals, you’re going to love In The Heights. The film is based on the musical of the same name by the creator of Hamilton. I’m glad I didn’t see or listen to the musical before watching as this allowed me to enjoy something I had not seen before. The soundtrack in this movie is amazing and you will no doubt have the playlist on repeat after seeing it. In The Heights is an emotional rollercoaster – one second you are dancing along to the songs in your seat, the next you’re crying your eyes out.
It is very rare that in a Hollywood movie we see a cast led by the Latino community. This movie speaks volumes for them, where the central message lies on hope, racism, dual standard, dreams, family, friendship, the art of letting go, and what it means to be an outsider. What sets this movie apart from other movie musicals is that it doesn’t try to emulate the Broadway musical directly on to the screen. Instead, it uses cinematic techniques to tell the story through a unique style of filming. It is clear that director Jon M. Chu wanted to use different dance styles within the choreography to represent everyone’s different dreams. You can see the passion that went into producing such a spectacular explosion of Latin culture – it echoes Chu’s previous work, such as Crazy Rich Asians.
Anthony Ramos excelled in the role as Usnavi with his singing, dancing, and acting skills. Melissa Barrera, who played Vanessa, was equally amazing – they worked so well together. It felt like a mini reunion seeing several members of the cast from the original show of Hamilton also feature in this film. While there are some familiar faces in this movie, (such as Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine Nine and Corey Hawkins from Straight Outta Compton), the lack of massive Hollywood names makes In The Heights feel more genuine.
Since the opening of cinemas, this should be on your to-watch list. In The Heights is such an uplifting and hopeful movie, it will bring a smile to your face.