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‘In the Heights’ review: What are the critics saying?

Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera star as Usnavi de la Vega and Vanessa in the film adaptation of “In the Heights.”

Warner Brothers

“In the Heights” is a celebration of love, life and community, critics say.

The film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical currently has a “fresh”

; rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 130 reviews and hits theaters and on HBO Max on Thursday.

Directed by Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”), “In the Heights” explores the lives of residents of the Hispanic community of Washington Heights in Manhattan. The story centers on Usnavi, the owner of a vintage shop. who dreams of leaving New York City and opening a bar in his home country dominican republic

Us Navy secretly likes Vanessa. who works in a local beauty salon and dreams of moving downtown to become a fashion designer. Nina and Benny were the main couple in the musical. Benny is a driver at a taxi company owned by Nina’s father. but dreams of starting his own business

Nina had just returned to the city after a year at Stanford University. But she doesn’t want her father to know that she’s quitting because he struggles to make money to send her to a prestigious school. She was also the only person in her family to attend college.

These love stories are woven from other members. in communities that are facing their own problems including landlords and realtors who have caused local rents to skyrocket. There’s also a heat wave and a $96,000 lottery ticket.

Critics praised Chu’s lead and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ screenplay adapted from the story she helped Miranda bring on stage. Usnav and critics loved the film’s bright colors and flashy dance moves.

“In the quoting of ‘In the Heights,’ the streets were made of music in the first film with the bright, lively and truly lively summer,” wrote Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post’s film review. her

Here’s What Critics Think About “In the Heights” Ahead of Thursday’s Release

AO Scott The New York Times

The New York Times’ AO Scott praised Chu’s directing in the film, especially the lavish soundtrack. Chu is no stranger to incorporating dance into his storytelling. He previously directed two films in the “Step Up” franchise. He was also tasked with managing the upcoming musical adaptation of “Wicked.”

Scott, like any critic, That shines the spotlight on Ramos as well.

“Ramos’ charisma perfectly suited this role,” he wrote. “His humility prevailed and was as sincere as he was. with his courage And he’s a strong drama singer and a flimsy movie actor.”

Ramos plays Usnavi’s cousin Sonny in the musical and stars John Laurens and Philip Hamilton as part of the original cast of Miranda’s Tony award-winning musical “Hamilton.”

“‘In the Heights,’ which opened on Broadway in 2008 and is expected to hit theaters last year. Feels like a freshly grated piragua on a hot July day. “It’s mainstream entertainment in America in its best sense — a testament to impatience and faith. Celebrating community relationships and individual sacrifices A testimony to the power of the arts to turn battles into dreams.”

Read the full review from The New York Times.

Corey Hawkins and Ariana Greenblatt star as Benny and Nina in the film adaptation of “In the Heights.”

Warner Brothers

Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

“Sometimes a movie comes with the perfect feeling in that moment. And it’s not because of the superficial relationship to current events,” Clarisse Laufrey wrote in her review of The Independent. “Themes that pulsate through ‘In the Heights’ – culture, identity, community, space division. And the rights of undocumented immigrants – are at the center of the conversation right now. Just as Lin-Manuel Miranda made his stage character debut in 2005.”

“But Jon M. Choo’s soulful adaptation arrived in theaters after a year’s delay. Enter a world that is still trying to crawl out of the shadow of a deadly plague. In that sense, it’s a gift.”

Loughrey said the film recognizes that musical performances are connected to New York’s Washington Heights traditions and communities, pointing his hat to Esther’s circus. Williams and the West Side Story ballet play while honoring the district’s cultural history. During “Carnaval del Barrio,” flags flutter over the crowd. including flags from the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

“’In the Heights’ is a musical triumph. not afraid to raise his voice to the sky,” she wrote.

Read the full independent review.

Rafael Motamayor, Observer

Rafael Motamayer wrote in a review of the film: “The cinematic adaptation of the musical was a difficult approach in that the two had to shorten the story to feature length. At the same time, it translates the stage production into a cinematic experience,” wrote Rafael Motamayer in a review of the film. “A lot of people get lost in the big show and forget to actually adjust the text, but that’s not the case with ‘In the Heights,’ a film that doubles up as the original narrative amid catchy and compelling musical numbers. Totally amazed to create The first true summer movie experience.”

Motamayor noted that Chu and Hudes delved into the themes of the drama about dreams. But it also provides context for some of the characters’ motives and their struggles, with what it means to be part of the Latinx community and the pressure to somehow inherit their parents’ hopes and dreams. unexplored in stage production

He said there were moments when the film’s social commentary seemed “repetitive,” and a few subplots felt bound to tell a story without nuance. which will ultimately distract you from the main story.

“Make no mistake, this is a blockbuster musical as Chu treats the wide shots of dozens of background dancers with the same eye. You’ll see that Christopher Nolan applies it to ‘Tenet’ or the Russo Brothers apply it to ‘Endgame. He writes, “There is a feeling of melancholy under the beautiful lyrics and the optimism that is not. Stop the characters that appear at various points in the movie. The perception that things fade, neighborhoods change and people leave. But we may be Well, throw a big party before it happens. ‘In the Heights’ is that party. And we are very fortunate to be invited.”

Read the full review from Observer.

Anthony Ramos Starring in “In the Heights”

Warner Brothers

Monica Castillo from The Wrap

Blended with Chu’s dance numbers is “Paciencia y Fe,” a ballad sung by Abuela Claudia, an elderly woman who lives in the neighborhood and treats everyone like family.

The “Charming” dance features contemporary ballet and tells the story of Claudia’s mother leaving Havana for New York.

Shot in what looks like an old train and platform at the New York Transit Museum, the tone-changing music during ‘Paciencia y Fe’ takes viewers back in time to relive painful memories of America’s struggle for survival and peace. I finally felt at home again,” wrote Monica Castillo in her review of The Wrap.

The ‘Paciencia y Fe’ sequence has been praised by many critics for expressing the tension that Hispanics feel as they adjust to life in America. A place where everything is possible

Castillo noted that “In the Heights” is a rarity in Hollywood. Latin characters “live normal lives. outside of gangs or drugs and outside the plan”

“We rarely see ourselves simply taking a break from work and nurturing our ambitions. in most movies Do we have enough conversations to be ambitious?” she wrote.

This film demonstrates the importance of inclusion and diversity not only in our neighborhoods but in the entertainment industry as well.

“With ‘In the Heights,’ Chu delivered the Latin equivalent of the previous box office hit ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and knocked it out of the park,” she wrote.

Read the full review of The Wrap.

Disclosure: Comcast It is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.

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