Washington Heights, New York City. A vibrant community of individuals from all walks of life who have known each other for forever. Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner, saves whatever he can in hopes of a better life back in the Dominican Republic.
The storyline of In The Heights may not give a lot away, but trust me when I say that you NEED to watch this movie. It is the standout of the summer and I guarantee that it will put a giant smile on your face. Based on the stage musical by mastermind Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, the movie is a colorful array of catchy songs, breathtaking cinematography, a blast of culture and an amazing ensemble cast.
Anthony Ramos helms the troupe as protagonist Usnavi. His charisma, good looks and beautiful voice make him easy to root for throughout. Well knowns Jimmy Smits as Kevin Rosario, Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Daniela and Stephanie Beatriz as Carla are a joy to watch. Then there are the newcomers who perfectly round out the cast: Melissa Barrera as Vanessa, Leslie Grace as Nina Rosario, Corey Hawkins as Benny and my personal favorite Gregory Diaz IV as Sonny. He stole every single scene he was in!
And of course, who could forget Lin Manuel Miranda himself as Piraguero? His little cameos were everything.
I’ll be completely honest when I say that I was worried this wouldn’t live up to the hype, or to my expectations. I have become such a fan of Miranda in just one year and I was worried that this just wouldn’t compare to Hamilton. Luckily I soon realized that that wasn’t the case. The two are polar opposites in their plot, but there are similarities in the music styles that I appreciated.
In The Heights really was everything that I hoped it would be and more. It was lively, it was fun, it was emotional and it was heartwarming. It had everything you could want from a movie and yes, I did cry. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are seriously missing out!