Director; Jon M. Chu. Starring; Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace. Rated: PG-13. Color. 143 Minutes.
“In The Heights” is one of those pictures so simple to tell you about, yet I will delve into it further. One word to start with, ‘JOYOUS’! The story of these Latin American citizens doing their best to make a life for themselves while rapping their way through the bullshit that is racist America is absolutely amazing. Do not be afraid to tap your foot in the theatre because “In The Heights” is without a doubt an audience showstopper.
We begin with Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a young Puerto Rican man busy running a small bodega in New York City. His best friend Benny (Corey Hawkins) and cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV) are always around. Waking up is good stuff, spotlighted by the opening rendition of the titular song. One morning Usnavi is approached by his uncle telling Usnavi that his deceased father’s old bar in the Caribbean is up for sale. Usnavi is thrilled, but there is just one problem…
Yep, it is a girl. Never said this was the most original movie ever. But let us be honest, it is always the girl. Melissa Barrera plays Vanessa, a nail salon worker with dreams of grandeur in the fashion design world. She and Usnavi have a simmering attraction for one another. Vanessa attempts to move to a “better” part of the city when discrimination causes her to lose the apartment she was promised. A Puerto Rican with a dream of reviving his father’s business in the Caribbean and a girl who strives for her own separate career. What could go wrong?
Usnavi and Vanessa’s story is not the only one told. Nina Rosario (Leslie Grace), the daughter of a successful local businessman Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits) is the community’s great hope. Having been recently accepted to Stanford University on a full scholarship, she returns home for the summer with her own personal crisis baggage. You see there are layers here beyond the song and dance stuff.
What makes “In The Heights” so beautiful is the time it takes to respect the small nuances one often overlooks. There are several along the journey, yet my favorite is grandma Abuela (Olga Merediz) taking a moment to show her granddaughter how to knit a napkin in the most elegant way. The bullshit that involves kicking out the ‘DREAMERS’ from this country also invigorates my anger of being a white person to no extent. The point is, “In The Heights” is not a simple musical. You will see multi-cultural music along with a story much more deep than expected. Embrace your musical side and enjoy your stay while visiting “In The Heights”.
Suck Factor: 0 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really Sucks).
The Suck Factor, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If it is a classic it gets 0 SUCKS! If it complete trash such as a Michael Bay film you receive a straight 7 SUCKS!