“In the Heights” review summary: see what the critics are saying


Lights up on Washington Heights.

The opening weekend of the big screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical “In the Heights” is finally upon us after the COVID-19 pandemic delays its theatrical release for almost a year.

Critics say the ‘driven’, ‘joyful’, ‘life-affirming’ and ‘socially distance-less’ cinematic wonder is the perfect reason to return to theaters, which have been dark across the country for several months. due to the public health crisis.

“To call this film bold would be an understatement; to describe him as small would be a lie, ”writes Justin Chang for the Los Angeles Times.

“At nearly two and a half hours and with a formidable ensemble of actors singing, rapping, dancing and practically stepping out of the frame, ‘In the Heights’ is brash and invigorating entertainment, a film of tender and delicate moments that nonetheless delights. unashamedly of its own size and scale.

Directed by Jon M. Chu, “In the Heights” centers around charismatic bodega owner Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) living in the predominantly Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.

While running his vibrant local business, Usnavi (created on Broadway by Miranda) uplifts his vibrant community, finds love, and dreams of escaping to his native Dominican Republic.

“As a collection of interwoven stories set to the pulsating rhythms of everyday barrio life, this ‘In the Heights’ can seem as dramatically thin and stretched as its source was,” Chang continues in his review.

“But as the musical valentine of a tight-knit Latin American community, a whirlwind inspired by hip-hop, Latin pop, salsa and other musical idioms, his pleasures are often glorious, even transporting. It summons – and for the most part maintains – the kind of visual and musical energy that could help give the films the resurgent summer they’ve been waiting for.

Written for the screen by Quiara Alegría Hudes – who also wrote the book for the directing – the film’s musical features a cast that includes Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera and Olga Merediz.

Find out what others have said about the upcoming summer blockbuster below.

AV Club

“In the heights” the portrait in slices of life suggests a less ambitious undertaking than Hamilton, but it tells a story as vast as that of a nascent nation ”, writes Danette Chavez.

“Through the two musicals, Miranda demonstrates how deeply rooted people of color are in the history of this country: before reinventing a crucial chapter in the history of the United States with black and Latin actors, the famous multi-trait d’union shed light on the struggle of marginalized people against displacement. At the heart of “In The Heights”, on stage or on screen, is movement – as migration, as immigration, as dance, as code change, as passage of time. ‘friends to lovers. After nearly 13 years, it is time for the public to join the parranda.

But why Tho?

“There are a lot of things I want to say about ‘In the Heights’. I can say this is the most amazing example of Latinx joy I have ever seen on screen. I can talk about how it takes wrestling very real and elegantly presents [it] to an audience that may not know what it is ”, writes Kate Sánchez.

“I can talk about how I was Nina, in a place where everyone thought I didn’t belong, and how that fueled my impostor syndrome. I can say that the most touching number in the film isn’t the one that comes from sadness, but rather the one that calls on Latinxes to raise our flags, own our identities, and feel joy and strength with it. I can write about all of these things and somehow still wouldn’t be able to capture the power and beauty of “In the Heights”.

CineFilm TV

“All the actors play wonderfully in their musical numbers. Miranda and Chu bring out the best in all actors, even those who are not trained as singers. Actors like Hawkins and Barrera, who are not known for their vocal abilities, shine here with beautiful renditions of their singing voices, ” writes Lupe R. Haas.

“Anthony Ramos, of course, is the heart of the film. The actor is very charismatic and endearing. He holds the film together even when the story ventures into the subplots of other characters. He tells a story of a captivating way that holds your attention for over two hours.


“The simplicity of the story belies the intoxicating nature of the music, from the beautiful ballads to a Busby Berkeley-style rendition of ‘96,000″ at the local pool and a beautifully choreographed tribute to Fred Astaire. ” writes Brian Lowry.

Throughout, the film is bursting with energy and color, with judicious casting choices from top to bottom, perhaps especially with Grace (a singer who is making her film debut) and Barrera (who starred in the Starz series ‘Vida’). “

Weekly entertainment

“For all of its rich tapestry and radiant ingenuity, it’s this casual centering of so many marginalized voices that makes the film, in its own way, groundbreaking: a Technicolor marvel as heady as old Hollywood and as modern as this moment. writes Leah Greenblatt.

Hollywood journalist

“The film radiates love for its characters, their background, and the pride with which they defend their cultural imprint against the pervasive forces of development in New York City that continually push the marginalized further into the margins.” writes David Rooney. “The resilience with which the characters claim their place in the fabric of city life is exhilarating. “

Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera in “In the Heights”.

(Macall Polay / Warner Bros. Entertainment)


Even on his static Broadway set – rocked every night and twice on Sunday like a snow globe in a heat wave – ‘In the Heights’ was animated by his feverish insistence that home is something people take away. with them wherever they go “, writes David Ehrlich.

“By opening this snow globe and watching it spread through the streets of Washington Heights, Chu has created a film that makes his characters seem like they are dreaming with their eyes open. Here is such a magical and confident musical that even its missteps seem like great ideas.

Association of Latin Entertainment Journalists.

“[Chu’s] direction of ‘In the heights’ may have been mocked during the announcement, but after seeing the film it’s hard to imagine another director doing it justice ”, writes Toni Gonzales.

“Chu is able to capture the culture and with justified reverence make it shine and shine. Not an easy task to do, no doubt. But Chu does it brilliantly in her choice of choreographed dance scenes, shot selections, and – as the movie says – with patience and faith.

New York Times

“Like Usnavi, the film – bristling with ideas, verbal wit and musical invention – has its heart on its sleeve”, writes AO Scott. “It also reflects its virtues: generosity, decency, hard work, pride. Ramos’ charisma is perfectly suited to the role.

“His modesty is as winning and genuine as his bravado, and he is a strong stage singer as well as a subtle film actor. It would be unfair to the rest of the wonderful cast – and wrong to the family and inclusive spirit that makes “In the Heights” so successful – to say it dominates the screen. He’s the one who keeps the party going, and that’s why it’s happening. “

USA today

“That’s right, ‘In The Heights’ is a traditional musical, right down to its lavish Busby Berkeley-style production numbers. This does not diminish its importance ”, writes Raul A. Reyes. “For the Latino public, it is an opportunity to be proud of our culture. And to everyone else, it’s a reminder that Latinos live, work, and pursue their dreams just like other Americans.

“With its spanglish, salsa and infectious rhythms, ‘In The Heights’ presents the Latin experience with authenticity and affection. It’s a celebration of the Latin heritage that America needs right now.


“Seeing Dominicans and Puerto Ricans taking to the streets might not be as new as it was when ‘In the Heights’ was released on Broadway, but it’s no less invigorating on the big screen. ” writes Peter Debruge. “Miranda’s awesome songs speak for themselves, leaving Chu to orchestrate the carnival del barrio that does ordinary people of color justice. Bawl! “


“The film was shot on location in Washington Heights, giving it an immediacy that makes it a vibrant, sometimes dissonant combination with the over-the-top aesthetic of a studio musical. writes Bilge Ebiri.

“Chu simultaneously mixes the relaxed, the lived and the intimate with the broad gestures and precise rhythms and dreamlike logic of a traditional musical, as the actors easily switch between the naturalistic and the theatrical.”

A crowd of people partying in a giant swimming pool

Corey Hawkins, center, as Benny in “In the Heights”.

(Photos Warner Bros.)

Washington post

“Blending rap, salsa, merengue and Latin pop, and checking the names of specific countries and cultures too often flattened with the overly generalist term ‘Latino,’ the big-screen version of ‘In the Heights’ preserves what could be that by Miranda. most revolutionary achievement: reframe American musical theater in a vernacular language that is quite familiar – but specific, authentic and invigorating ”, writes Ann Hornaday.

We live the entertainment

“From start to finish, ‘In the Heights’ is a musical odyssey”, writes Adriana Gomez-Weston.

“The film opens with the catchy title song, ‘In the Heights’, then reaches an emotional first note with ‘Breathe’. Some other highlights are “96,000” and “Carnaval del Barrio”. Overall, “In the Heights” doesn’t have a song or a moment that isn’t pleasant. Once again, combined with Quiara Alegría Hudes’ writing skills, Lin-Manuel Miranda shows his incredible ability to interweave words and sounds to create something beautiful.

The Envelope

“With ‘In the Heights’, Chu delivers the Latino equivalent of his previous box office hit ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and takes it out of the park. writes Monica Castillo.

“Like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, not everyone will feel represented when they watch ‘In the Heights’. It is an impossible task for any movie. Yet ‘In the Heights’ can represent a lot of things for many different viewers. It can be a story of ambitious and hardworking people chasing their dreams. It can be a reflection on the immigrant experience and the struggle to find one’s place. It can also be a tribute to the sacrifices of our parents.


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