Let me start off by saying this, I used to really despise musicals. I would always avoid and trash them without giving them a watch. But, now as I grow older and gain a little more wisdom I have started to develop my movie taste buds. I have seen Hamilton, La La Land, and Sweeney Todd just to throw a few out there. I have come to the conclusion that I really enjoy musicals now.
With all that being said, In The Heights might be my favorite musical of all time. People, this is a MUST SEE. I want to emphasize that. In The Heights was such an amazing movie experience. The songs were beautiful and catchy, the colors popped all over the place, and the dancing was sharp. While the story can be somewhat predictable at times, that does not take away from an amazing film that has all the heart and fun a movie watcher could ask for. So, let's dive in!
On the outside of 181st St. in New York, there is a vibrant community of dreamers. People of all ages have hope and goals that will someday be seen. The story follows bodega owner Usnavi, whose goal is to go back home to the Dominican Republic to fulfill his dream of restoring his father's old bar. Through Usnavi, we are shown many other stories and dreamers that dream big and shoot high.
What I Love
I really loved the music. Musicals need catchy jump out of your seat music that you can sing along to. That’s what In The Heights did here. The music was so good that it will make you want to download the soundtrack and play it all summer. I found myself doing a terrible salsa dance in my living room while watching, and I’m sorry you won't get to see it. The point is... the music rocked!
The community aspect of the film was so great. Seeing that family warmth from people that aren't your family by blood always makes me smile. It reminded me of my days growing up, calling people your cousins that aren't really your cousins and having that wise old woman on the block hand out wisdom. I loved it. This film reminds us that anyone can be your family and honestly we all need that reminder sometimes.
I love that we now have a well-developed film displaying Dominican heritage. We see amazing food, dancing, music, sharing stories, speaking their native tongue, and embracing each other in a tiny block. I ate that up. I love seeing different cultures interact and give us a glimpse of their lives. Give us more of these films! these characters a story to tell. Some came from nothing and came to America to make a better life and did! You are never too old to accomplish the goals that you have written down. Never lose hope in your dreams. In The Heights made me remember that, and I found it inspirational to say the least.
All the stories that are told in this film are inspirational. Usnavi, Vanessa, Sonny, Nina, and Benny all had amazing stories. It can be hard to tell so many stories in one movie, but Jon Chu did a great job giving each one enough attention. I want to actually give a shoutout to the director Jon Chu, who also directed Crazy Rich Asians (go see that as well). I love that he is willing to take on the challenge of once again showing another heritage. I think he did an excellent job showing us the Dominican Republic's culture!
What I did not love
I feel like the story got predictable towards the end. I don't like to guess endings before they happen, and that happened here. Maybe I should not do that, but look, when you can predict the end or certain events before it happens that may leave some people flat when leaving the film.
I didn't really understand the blackout aspect of the film. I felt like that could’ve cut out completely honestly. I don’t think it really added a lot to the story. To me, I think you could still have the same drama plots without the whole blackout. Also, the film felt a little long. 2 hours and 22 minutes is a lot of film and I think this film could have been about 20 minutes shorter.
In The Heights was an amazing film experience. I recommend this film to everyone and hope this film will inspire you to dream big. Also, you learn some Dominican heritage. 4 and a half out of 5 stars.
You can watch the film via HBO MAX and also in theaters.