Review: In The Heights
In the neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan, Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) owns a bodega but dreams of going back to his native Dominican Republic. He pines for Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) who has big dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Meanwhile his friend Nina (Leslie Grace) has just returned home from her first semester of college and realizes the location might not be for her.
I didn't get to see this on the big screen like I originally wanted to, but even watching this at home on HBO Max it felt larger than life. The musical numbers were fantastic. They were so colorful and full of energy, I couldn't take my eyes off them.
Anthony Ramos is an absolute star. I hope he can carry momentum all the way until awards season because he deserves it. He's so energetic and talented. Everyone involved in this had wonderful singing voices. I loved seeing Corey Hawkins, who plays Usnavi's friend (and Nina's love interest) Benny. I was first introduced to him on The Walking Dead, where he was severely underused, so I love seeing him thriving in better works.
For as much as the musical numbers work, I wasn't in love with the story over all at times. It had some pacing issues. I felt the B story (Benny and Nina) was more interesting than Usnavi and Vanessa. I think Vanessa drew the short stick in terms of development, which brings it down slightly.
Even thought the script may not be perfect, this is a great film for summer and I'm sure I'll be listening to this soundtrack often for the rest of the year.
Memorable Quote: "Let me listen to my block." - Nina (Leslie Grace)