In the Heights is a joyful and captivating masterpiece, working directly off of the beautiful writing and music of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, and converting into a film that loses none of the musical’s powerful energy. The film allows you as the viewer to see into the brains and the lives of various characters and learn their dreams. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the film was the emotions the film made me feel. I cried I smiled, I laughed, and I felt inspired. This may be due to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fantastic music writing, the amazing acting from each of the characters, or the phenomenal dancing and fun the film is.
In the Heights is a movie musical, based on the musical written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film is directed by Jon M. Chu and features stars like Anthony Ramos who was in Hamilton and who plays Usnavi, Melissa Barrera who plays Vanessa, Leslie Grace who plays Nina, Corey Hawkins who plays Benny, Olga Merediz who plays Abuela Claudia, Jimmy Smits who plays Kevin Rosario, Gregory Diaz IV who plays Sonny, Daphne Rubin-Vega who plays Daniela and Stephanie Beatriz who plays Carla. This star-studded cast is the perfect partner to this incredible film and is a huge portion of what makes it great.
In the Heights is truly, as all the reviews say, the event of the summer. The film includes exciting dance numbers that will have you squirming in your seat, wanting to join in, fantastic songs that are beautifully sung by the cast, incredible rapping, lots of emotion, and just all the excitement. If I had to rank it, it would be a 9.6 out of 10. I think it is a special film that will be well-loved for a long time.
My only complaint is with a little bit of the singing. I’m pretty picky, and a huge movie musical fan, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Leslie Grace’s singing, who plays Nina. Her singing wasn’t bad by any means, but didn’t fit in with the more musical belting from the other singers, and sounded like she was recording for a pop album rather than a musical, which made her voice stick out in every song she sang. But, like always, I was a big fan of Anthony Ramos’ singing, loved Corey Hawkins’ voice, which was one I hadn’t heard before, and I thought all of the other women’s voices were pretty solid, but not quite to the par of the original cast.
This film was well worth the wait and was impossible to look away from. Giving the watchers an incredible two and a half hours of joy, that will make you want to restart the film directly after you finish watching. But the film isn’t pure joy the entire time, and if you’re anything like me, will have you sobbing in tears, then laughing, then smiling, then crying again. It’s a really special film that deserves all the awards.
Overall, In the Heights was the perfect summer film, filled with lots of fun and paired with lots of important messages that will hit home for first-generation college students, and anyone with a big dream they are working towards. This was the perfect reminder to look around and smell the roses, enjoying the joy that surrounds you. It also has a fantastic soundtrack that you will insist upon listening to ALL summer.