Review: 'In the Heights' sets the bar high for this year's movie musicals
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 40.9%. 1 min read.
Big and vibrant, "In the Heights" provides summer movie-going with a joyous jolt of adrenalin, wedding the sensibilities of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical with "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu's mouth-watering imagery.
Of course, there's no certainty in that, since the studio (like CNN, a part of WarnerMedia) will continue its practice of simultaneously dropping the film on HBO Max. Whatever the size of the screen, the result is a movie whose old-fashioned charms practically leap off of it, and whose tunes will follow many around for days on end.
The Tony Award-winning musical made its debut in 2008 with Miranda in the cast, in what amounted to a down payment for the blockbuster to come with "Hamilton. " The story here, though, has less to do with the country's origins than the author's, focusing on a New York neighborhood, Washington Heights, and the strivers and dreamers (including Dreamers, literally) trying to make it there.
Although Miranda has taken only a small role in the film, the lead passes to "Hamilton" co-star Anthony Ramos, who, with his simultaneous stint in HBO's "In Treatment," seems poised to come out of this summer an even bigger star than he was heading into it.
As it happens, "In the Heights" kicks off an unusually well-populated lineup of movie musicals this year thanks in part to the logjam created by Covid, with "Annette" (which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival), "West Side Story," "Dear Evan Hansen" and "Everybody's Talking About Jamie" all still to come.