Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera star as Usnavi de la Vega and Vanessa in the film adaption of “In the Heights.”
“In the Heights” is a celebration of love, life and community, critics say.
The film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical currently holds at 97% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 130 reviews and arrives in theaters and onon Thursday.
Directed by Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”), “In the Heights” explores the lives of the inhabitants of the Hispanic community of Manhattan’s Washington Heights. The story is centered around bodega owner Usnavi, who dreams of leaving New York City and opening a bar in his home country, the Dominican Republic.
Usnavi has a crush on Vanessa, who works at the local beauty salon and dreams of moving downtown to become a fashion designer. Nina and Benny are the other central couple in the musical. Benny is a dispatcher for a cab company owned by Nina’s father, but dreams of starting his own business.
Nina has just returned to the city after a year at Stanford University, but she doesn’t want her father to know that she has dropped out because he has been struggling to scrounge together money to send her to the prestigious school. She is also the only one in her family to go to college.
Woven within these love stories are other members of the community who are dealing with their own troubles, including landlords and realtors who are causing rents in the area to spike. There’s also heatwave and a lottery ticket worth $96,000.
Critics have praised Chu’s direction and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ screenplay adaptation of the story she helped Miranda present on stage. Anthony Ramos has been lauded for his breakout performance as Usnavi and reviewers delighted in the film’s bright colors and flashy dance numbers.
“To quote ‘In the Heights’ itself, the streets are made of music in the first genuinely cheerful, splashy, exuberantly life-affirming movie of the summer,” Ann Hornaday
Here’s what critics thought of “In the Heights” ahead of its Thursday debut.
Corey Hawkins and Ariana Greenblatt portray Benny and Nina in the film adaptation of “In the Heights.”