I finally sat myself down to watch the film adaptation of the musical In The Heights and need to share my thoughts.
This is a spoiler free review.
For those that don’t know, In The Heights is about the community of Washington Heights in New York City that is a primarily Latino population. We follow a cast of characters and their struggles to follow their dreams, primarily following Usnavi the bodega owner who dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic.
I went in with familiarity, knowing the plot of the musical and having had listened the the musical. Even so, there were still surprises and even things I knew that would come still made me emotional. Some changes they made I’m a little skeptical of why they decided to make those particularly changes, but ultimately it doesn’t effect the story as a whole and doesn’t ruin anything for me as someone who knows the original source.
The cast is impeccable honestly. At first I wasn’t too sure with some, but they all won me over as the film went on. Particular shout out to Olga Merediz who plays Abuela Claudia and also originated the role on Broadway, as well as Gregory Diaz IV who plays Sonny who really made that character stand out and have a lot of unexpected depth. And extra special shoutout to all of the dancers who were amazing.
Now I want to give a standing ovation to the director Jon M. Chu because he really made something magical with this movie. He wasn’t afraid to be playful, big, and vibrant. And he didn’t detract from the realistic sides and issues the film highlights. The balance was beautifully done. And the film is visually stunning as well.
I will say I think I was able to enjoy it more because I could catch Easter eggs, like specific cameos. Lin-Manuel Miranda was a pretty obvious cameo if you recognize him even if just a little, but there were some others I enjoyed. Mr. Softee Truck Driver is Christopher Jackson who originated Benny on Broadway. And me being a big Broadway nerd meant I immediately recognized Patrick Page, who plays Pike Phillips, who is a Broadway actor recently originating Hades in Hadestown. These brief moments were fun for me to see and recognize.
Overall I greatly enjoyed In The Heights and it is definitely one of the best movie musical adaptations I have seen. I laughed, I nearly cried, and would watch again.
What movie musicals do you enjoy? Let me know with a comment below!