In the Heights

In the Heights ★★★★½

Oh, happy heart. There is something so refreshing about a bombastic, vibrant, and joyful big screen musical. Full of Latin culture, the thing I maybe most appreciated about this immigrant story is the way it doesn't downplay its own heritage to make it more accessible for non-Latin viewers. There are many points during songs (which frequently include a blend of English and Spanish) and even in dialogue where you just aren't going to know what exactly is being said if you don't the speak the language because there are no subtitles. I loved that and it felt more genuine because of the choice. I never had a problem understanding the plot due to the overall tone, body language, background score, etc.

The choreography in this is a huge stand-out to me, as well. Seeing dozens of people dancing and singing in sync just lights me up inside. Music is wonderful and has a very distinct Miranda feel to it at times, although there sadly are none of the catchy songs you'll be singing leaving the theater like many musicals have. The music works fantastically for moving the plot along, it's just a style that isn't particularly filled with the repetitious choruses many viewers are used to. I also felt like the film's pacing is a bit off and with repeating themes it starts to feel a little long. Not egregious, but not quite a fine-tuned adaptation.

There's not much at all that I didn't like about this one. I'm so glad it exists and will be re-watching it many more times this year. Hopefully it is just the first of several great musicals in 2021! *fingers crossed*

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