In The Heights Film Review

'In The Heights' 'In The Heights' Image © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

'In The Heights' is the kind of uplifting, special film the world needs right now.

The film, based on the stage musical of the same name, introduces audiences to Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) who is telling children the story of a place called Washington Heights.

Throughout, we learn of the people in Usnavi’s life, and their stories. This is done in such a way that it doesn’t feel chaotic – each of the stories is somehow linked or related back to Usnavi’s and by the end of the film it’s as though you’ve been given the grand tour of a tight-knit community with hopes and dreams of their own.

There is a perfect balance of music and spoken word to move the film along at a pleasant, satisfying pace, and the music (from Lin-Manuel Miranda) could almost be seen as its own character here; its integration throughout the plot has been thought out stunningly, each track inserts itself into the film like a puzzle piece as the world around the characters involves itself with the instrumentation. Footsteps, hoses, keys and even manhole covers become percussion instruments. . . Washington Heights is alive.

‘In The Heights’ is clever in its ability to be thoroughly entertaining and completely charming, while also addressing some pretty interesting and relevant issues surrounding immigration and financial limitations.

Ensemble musical numbers like ‘In The Heights’, ’96,000’ and ‘The Club’ are made even larger than life thanks to choreographer Christopher Scott, who creates mesmerising movement sequences which complement the film’s visual grandeur perfectly. While the music isn’t quite as groundbreaking and captivating as some musicals, the way it’s presented in this film is to be celebrated.

Anthony Ramos is excellent in leading the children – and, naturally, the audience – through his story. He’s charismatic and passionate as Usnavi. Meanwhile, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Olga Merediz and Gregory Diaz IV and Daphne Rubin-Vega stand out among the rest of the lead cast.

‘In The Heights’ is a gorgeous, feel-good, colourful, heartwarming two-and-a-bit hours. It’s cliche to say it by now, but it truly is a film worth seeing in such a dark time for the world. Lights up!

★★★★☆ 1/2.

'In The Heights' is in cinemas 24 June.



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