Ebullient — if there’s one word to describe Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s new big screen adaptation of his Broadway hit, In the Heights, that would be it.
It’s the musical tale of a charismatic (although romantically challenged) storyteller (Anthony Ramos), who goes by the odd name of Usnavi, (how he got that moniker is a riot) who longs, hopes, dreams and saves for life on a beach in his native Dominican Republic.
But as he recounts his colorful, musical, almost magical life in the Washington Heights area of Nueva York, and introduces its enigmatic residents, all striving to achieve their dreams, the question becomes, why would anyone ever want to leave?
There are about a thousand happy reasons that you, like us, will find this film to be one of the best of the summer—if not of the year— but here are five great ones to get you started:
Miranda cut his teeth on this one before he came up with the more sophisticated Hamilton, but the music is still stylish and truly addictive. You’ll find yourself and downloading the soundtrack on your way home from the theater so you can sing along with every lyric again and again…just like you did with Hamilton.
Yes, some of those dancer are definitely double jointed. You won’t believe the moves and the synchronization in this film. You know how people are still doing the group Thriller dance from 13 Going on Thirty? We predict dances from In the Heights are going to replace that in clubs and at parties (now that we can finally throw them.)
That Pool Scene!
In a film full of eye pipping production numbers, this one takes the cake. Water ballet meets water disco meets water salsa meets water acrobatics—with no goofy bathing caps! It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and worth the price of admission alone
It’s Family Friendly
In the Heights focuses on relationships between family, neighbors, innocent young couples, even between employees and employers. You won’t find any sex, drugs or violence here — and not one ugly curse word (in English)
There’s nothing political or dark here, this is all about hope, family, loyalty, dedication and striving to make your dreams come true. But it’s also about appreciating what you have, and loving the people around you.
Taking its place among the best New York based musicals ever made, IN THE HEIGHTS will put joy in the summer and bounce in your step.