In The Heights



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  • In The Heights

    For my first movie back in theaters since the pandemic began, and as summer starts to actually feel like summer here in LA, I could have done a lot worse than Lin Manuel Miranda's first Broadway musical. A love letter to his Manhattan neighborhood, Washington Heights, as its multi-cultural residents contend with the growing pressures of gentrification in Bloomberg's New York City, ITH generally hits all the right notes. A romance between the young bodega owner who aspires to fulfill his late father's dream of running a seaside bar in his native Dominican Republic and the nail salon girl across the block who wants to move downtown to become a fashion designer. The daughter of owner of the local dispatch service who made good all the way to Stanford but struggles with leaving behind her family and community in that white, elitist fishbowl. It's rarely subtle and the outcomes for our main characters are not tested as harshly as, say, "West Side Story." But songs, choreography, and performances across the board show why ITH cleaned up at the Tonys when it was playing onstage. It may be the Hollywood version of Miranda's stage depiction of his home growing up but even that is pretty fun (though still would have preferred to catch it at the Cinerama Dome, where presumably it would have played last summer but for the global plague)

  • #2
    Nice review. One quibble -- Washington Heights is only "multi-cultural" from a white person's perspective. It's Latino, mostly Dominicans.