'In The Heights': A Feel-Good Summer Movie
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'In The Heights': A Feel-Good Summer Movie

The "Hamilton" creator and "Crazy Rich Asians" director team up to create Broadway musical "In The Heights" on the big screen

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Anthony Ramos (as Usnavi) looks out his bodega's window at a street filled with people dancing in the streets of Washington Heights. You see the crow'd reflection in the window. The movie still is from Warner Brothers' "In The Heights."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Ninety-six thousand dollars? That's a giant sum of money guaranteed to fulfill plenty of dreams. But feeling the joy of watching "In The Heights" is nearly priceless.

After its initial release date was delayed due to COVID-19 precautions, the movie musical adaptation from screenplay writer Quiara Alegría Hudes' book is finally here. And boy – it's worth the wait.

In this feel-good movie of the summer, the urge to dance grows with each catchy song that starts, and director Jon M. Chu ("Crazy Rich Asians") brings more of his colorful movie magic to the screen. Because of the plot's relatability, viewers don't have to know about the Lin-Manuel Miranda's music or the 2008 Broadway musical to fall in love with the film.

In the catchy opening number, also called "In The Heights," the song follows beats from water out of a rhythmic hose and Usnavi's well-timed movements. The song takes viewers to scenes inside homes and daily life of Washington Heights' residents and welcomes the audience into a community that immediately feels like home. It also does a great job of introducing us to all the important characters in this story.

Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos), a son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, dreams of going back home to refurbish his father's bar "El Sueñito," or "little dream." But for now, he runs a bodega in New York's Washington Heights with help from his young cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV) and tries to work up the courage to ask the fierce fashionista Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) on a date.

In The Heights - First 8 Minutes www.youtube.com

Meanwhile in the city, viewers also meet the studious Nina (Leslie Grace) who struggles to find her own path in college and copes with the pressure of her father's financial sacrifices for her success. Kevin (Jimmy Smits), Nina's father, runs a dispatch company where the charming Benny (Corey Hawkins) works and pines for Nina. And who looks after all these crazy kids? Abuela Claudia (tenderly played by Olga Merediz) supports all their dreams and cheers them on every step of the way.

And when Usnavi finds out a winning lottery ticket was sold at his deli clocking in at $96,000 in rewards, everyone's dreams feel closer to reality.

The film's 145-minute runtime flies by with engaging scenes filled with colorful costumes, genius choreography, vivacious characters and expertly-directed scenes. In theaters, viewers can hear a pin drop as "Paciencia y Fe" plays or tap their feet to "Carnaval Del Barrio" in scenes that feel like a giant dancing block party.

Viewers don't have to win the lottery to feel like a winner. All they need to do is see this movie and have fun.

Score: 10/10

"In The Heights" premieres on Thursday, June 10 in theaters and on HBO Max. Stay after the credits for an extra scene.

Follow the reporter on Twitter at @s_incorvaia.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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