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Tribeca Film Festival: IN THE HEIGHTS Review (Feature Film)

I have to come clean and say that when it comes to musicals, I tend to not enjoy them as much as other movies. I do understand why people would, but sadly they are just not for me, in most cases. That being said, I absolutely love and adore In the Heights directed by Jon M. Chu. The movie takes place in Washington Heights, New York following Usnavi, played by Anthony Ramos, who is trying to save money for a better life. The movie essentially is about the themes of hopes and dreams. A deep layered story that eventually tackles many important and heavy topics. Right from the start we are introduced to a beautifully vibrant and colorful world. Edited perfectly with stunning visuals and sound I was already in awe. It feels very dream like and I was transported to the streets where we follow our main characters. The music was never distracting and enhanced the its storytelling profusely. The dialogue in the lyrics tells this important story in a very unique way. I grooved to every beat of this movie feeling very energetic and euphoric. There is so much charisma and personality that just oozes from the on screen performances and musical numbers. Being able to watch this at home with captions on, I was able to even sing along a little bit, which never happens. Everyone's singing was incredible and they were able to cast the perfect people. The cinematography and location locations made the city feel truly alive in many ways that I did not think was possible.

In the Heights had so many impactful moments that played with my own emotions. Especially by delivering a special connection of how I felt being a Latino myself. I began to really feely proud of my own parents who are first generation immigrants that moved to the United States. I never felt so empowered being Latino because of how this movie was delivered. It really showed the importance of music, culture and community. It showed the struggles of family relations, equality, finding your identity and trying to find where you belong in the world. The choreography and set pieces were so grand in scale as well. With the numerous amounts of music, the movie does slow down when it needs to. It delivers heavy emotional scenes that stayed with me long past the run time. Even though the movie clocks in a little over 2 hours, the pacing never felt out of place. It had the perfect amount of music and the perfect amount of regular dialogue. It was a very well balanced movie from start to finish. All the characters are relatable and lovable which allowed me to really care for them. From the start, I was constantly rooting for them and hoped they would succeed in their little dreams. Everyone had a motive or dream that they wanted to accomplish and that helped connect with the characters. Dreams are often rough and they are not always what we assume they would turn out to be. The ending left me both satisfied and hopeful. I can easily say that In the Heights is one of my favorite movies that has released this year. I hope it has enough momentum throughout the year for some nominations at the Oscars, for it is well deserved of the praises it has been receiving. Make sure to check this one out when you can!

Rating: 9.7/10


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