West Side Story ★★★★½

West Side Story has the aura of magic surrounding it. The choreography is one-of-a-kind, truly unusual and over-the-top while still rooted in character and emotion. The music is fine and the story is okay, but the choreography (and cinematography/direction of how the choreography is captured) is the most special thing about this movie. The story, as mentioned, works for what this is, but never really captures Tony and Maria as people really worth rooting for, expecting their charisma and songs to be enough. Moreno's performance as Anita emerges as the true heart of the film; it doesn't hurt that she also gets the best songs. West Side Story's colors and dancing leaves one feeling like they've seen something like they've never seen before, and will never see again. It's a unique musical all the way through, and those exemplary elements overshadow anything less satisfactory about the film. It's absolutely extraordinary.

2020 70mm Film Festival #3

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