Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) owns a small grocery store and passionately saves every cent he earns towards his ultimate dream. He dreams of leaving New York and setting up his own family business in the Dominican Republic. Daily, he interacts with many people in Washington Heights, including the beautiful Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), whom Usnavi struggles to talk to due to his nerves. As Usnavi shares about how he fulfilled his dream, he also shares the story of many others from Washington Heights who have dreams and desires regarding careers, life, and romance.
For those who are unaware, In The Heights is best classed as a musical with some moments of drama. The musical tracks are certainly a massive highlight for this film, and I loved that musical moments could occur at any time and from anyone on screen. Each musical item is fun and highly entertaining. I found myself tapping my feet and wanting to applaud some of the songs several times throughout the film.
As for the plot, I found this to be fun, bright and light-hearted. The story is generally relatively basic and moves at a nice pace, with never a slow or dull moment on the screen. The lengthy runtime was never noticeable, and the character introduction through song and dance was also solid. The film uses an excellent range of bright colours to match its brilliant soundtrack, making it a visually pleasing experience.
While the film is a blast for the majority, only a few elements didn’t work for me. The film attempts to be mysterious in certain moments but is highly predictable for the majority. While the songs are fun and exciting to see, I was surprised to find that none of the songs stuck with me, unlike previous musicals such as La La Land or The Greatest Showman. Granted, this can also be due to my taste in music.
Overall, this film delivers a good time, and naturally, audiences will feel involved with the party on screen. The pacing is excellent, and the music is undoubtedly entertaining from start to finish. As a musical, this film doesn’t quite reach the top of its game compared to some of the previous musical films I’ve seen recently, but I still had a fun time. I highly recommend you wear your dancing shoes when you see this on the big screen. Also, stay after the film’s credits for a pleasing and fun surprise.