Directed by Jon M. Chu the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first broadway hit, yes even before Hamilton, In The Heights is a bright and colourful love letter to Latin culture in New York.
In The Heights places bodega owner Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) at the core of the film to guide the story but this is not a film with a singular focus. Rather In the Heights is a film about the Latin community of Washington Heights as they chase their dreams in the face of ever encroaching gentrification of their neighbourhood.
Throughout its two hour and 23 minute runtime In The Heights is an unabashed musical filled with vibrancy, colour and exuberant dance numbers which combine Spanglish, salsa dancing, and hip-hop. While most of these moments hit and create a fun filled energetic experience for the viewer the lengthy runtime is a concern, with the film feeling like it had moments where it could have ended sooner.
As a someone who adored Hamilton I went into this film with very high hopes and while it delivered in some senses in others it fell short. Visually this film is just as captivating as Hamilton. However, it failed to connect with me on a deeper soulful level and the music hasn’t stuck in my mind as much as Hamilton did.