What a Lively Movie! A Detailed In the Heights(2021) Review


In the Heights is one of the movies released in 2021 that will probably get at least one Oscar nomination. It already made a great impact on its viewers, including me. The movie, which is released on June 10, is based on a Broadway musical with the same name. If you are searching for movie reviews 2021, let's move on to the post which is spoiler-free by the way. Also, there is a surprise at the end of the review so be sure to get the end. In addition, I should inform you that this movie is PG 13 but there are so many beautiful messages in it that if your children aren't that young, this shouldn't stop you from watching it with them.

A Detailed Film Review: In the Heights(2021.)

First Impressions

First of all, I would like to talk about the opening song of the movie and where the movie's name comes from. The story of In the Heights starts in a neighborhood located in residential areas of Washington HeightsNew York which is mostly populated by immigrants and their families. Hundreds of immigrants came to Washington Heights with big dreams in their minds yet they still have to face the fact that government makes it almost impossible for them to achieve those dreams. They earn a bare living even though they work hard every day.

Washington Heights is definitely a lively neighborhood that is home to many people of different culturesbackgrounds, and ethnicities. The mixture of these cultures brought up a place that is full of music, fun, dance, and flavor.

Introduction of the Characters

One of the main characters, Usnavi de la Vega, is a dreamer and he starts the movie by telling his own story. Usnavi is a young man from the Dominican Republic. His parents died when he was very young so he was raised by a woman whom he calls Abuela Claudia but she is not his actual grandma. 

He owns a coffee shop in Washington Heights that he manages with his younger cousin Sonny. Usnavi's dream is to go back to the Dominican Republic and start a new life there but he also loves a girl named Vanessa, which contradicts his dream because leaving Washington Heights means leaving Vanessa.

A Detailed Film Review: In the Heights(2021

Another dreamer of the movie is Nina Rosario, whom Usnavi loves as if she is his sister. Nina, who is incredibly studious, had got into Stanford University with a scholarship but she returned back to Washington Heights at the beginning of the movie. Benny, a close friend of Usnavi, works at Rosario's Car Service and broadcasts on the radio station. Nina, as it is obvious from her name, is the daughter of the manager of Rosario's Car Service. She used to date Benny but they broke up when she left for college.

The reason why she returned back is that she felt so lonely in Standford. There was no representation of her community there and she faced racism just because of her ethnicity. But she didn't felt at peace either when she returned back. She felt like she disappointed everyone and even herself.

Usnavi's father was a dreamer as well, just like his son. His aim with moving to New York was to have a more comfortable life, yet he died prematurely, unfortunately. What is ironic is his son dreams a life on Dominican island, the place his father migrated from.

Vanessa, the girl that Usnavi is in love with, has a dream just like everyone in this neighborhood. In the movie, she is working at a hair salon yet she dreams to be a fashion designer someday and get out of this neighborhood.

A Detailed Film Review: In the Heights(2021)

Personal Opinions

I would like to say, I haven't seen such a colorful movie in a long time. The makeup, dresses that the characters wear, etc. are so full of vibrant colors.

Secondly, I believe the movie is great at representing the lives of the immigrants, which is not surprising considering this is based on a Broadway musical. The dances, songs, etc. were incredibly beautiful to watch. Every character had enough screen time, which is usually not the case for Hollywood movies.

Male leads mostly sang rap music while female leads sang usual musical songs. Seeing rap music in a musical was different for me as I watched La La Land recently. By the way, you can look at my La La Land Movie Review as well.

I think the racism that Hispanic and Black people face every day is shown very realistically with the characters. The pain, tears, frustration of the immigrants is as if written into the songs of the movie. Especially the story of Abuela Claudia broke my heart.

A Detailed Film Review: In the Heights(2021)

" A dream is not a diamond that is given to us. Sometimes it is hard and not so pretty." Usnavi - In the Heights

An Important Theme

Another important topic of the movie is the power outage that happened in Washington Heights between June 3 and 5. It was one of the hottest days of the summer. You could feel the pain of the people that were left without a fridge, cooler, or air conditioner in the movie. The musical was actually based on the power outage that happened in 1999 but the timeline of the movie is in nowadays. 

The Cast

In the Heights cast of the movie is like this; Usnavi is played by Anthony Ramos who was in Hamilton, Vanessa is played by Melissa Barrera, Nina is played by Leslie Grace, Benny is played by Corey Hawkins, Abuela Claudia is played by Olga Merediz. Also, one of my favorite actresses Stephanie Beatriz, aka Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, plays Carla in the movie.

I especially wait for a Best Picture nomination from this movie and maybe much more. I am very excited about this year's Oscar Awards since there are great upcoming movies towards the end of the year. As the new movies come out, I will try to make new reviews for you.

Here is my surprise; Check out the quiz that I made for this review:

Which In the Heights Movie Character Are You? Quiz

If you are a Marvel fan, I strongly suggest you read  Shang Chi The Legend of The Ten Rings: Everything You Need to Know Before The Movies and 

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