June 10, 2021

CINEMA | Anthony Ramos Reaches for 'In the Heights'

"We are not powerless. We are powerful."
Anthony Ramos Corey Hawkins Gregory Diaz IV Lin-Manuel Miranda Jon M. Chu | In the Heights
Warner Bros. Pictures
Director Jon M. Chu adapts Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's first big hit stage musical for cinematic audiences. Set in the titular Dominican neighbourhood of Manhattan, the joyous film version of In the Heights is a euphoric and electrifying spectacle bringing the Broadway experience of Washington Heights' vibrant immigrant community successfully onto the big screen.

Starring Anthony Ramos, who takes over the lead role of Usnavi from Miranda, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, and Melissa Barrera among many, this In the Heights bottles the magical feeling of summer in New York City through its colourful characters and Latinx faces. Its dynamic choreography and musical transitions bring the dreams and hopes of its characters to life. Chu manages to create portraits of people and a neighbourhood fully realized through singing and dancing set over the course of a few hot summer days.

Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for the stage musical, adapts her own work and bridges the gap between live stage performance and film ably with the transitions between singing and dancing to dialogue coming off smoothly enough. Her script updates a few references and touches from its initial run over a decade ago to better reflect the current political culture.

Chu's adaptation makes the movie musical feel lively and energetic to watch. In the Heights captures a moment in time and transposes it to a contemporary setting emerging from a period of isolation. Its celebration of music and culture bursts from the stage onto the screen as a fun expression of a big Broadway musical. There's a vital story of people and places both displaced and at home with each other at the very same time. It's a joy.

In the Heights is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand in Canada. Cinemas are scheduled to reopen in British Columbia starting on June 15th.


More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Polygon / Vox

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