The movie IN THE HEIGHTS is out this weekend, both in theaters and virtually on HBO Max. It’s the film version of the musical that was written by Lin Manuel Miranda almost two decades ago, in which he depicts life in Washington Heights, an area in the west side of New York in which a majority of Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans live.
Perhaps you saw the show when it performed in Los Angeles at the Pantages over a decade ago, so I must tell you that the magic of film has transformed it so much that watching it now feels like seeing it for the first time.
This is why you’ll love it:
- What do we care about here? Salsa! And how many movies do you know that start with la clave? Well, this one does! With songs originally written by Miranda, the film features several artists that you’ll want to listen for:
- Ruben Blades is featured with Leslie Grace (portraying Nina Rosario) in “Breathe;”
- Flaco Navaja sings in “Cuando Llega el Tren;”
- Marc Anthony is featured in “Home All Summer;” and
- Oscar Hernandez did the arrangements for one of the Salsa-est scenes in the movie – “The Club.”
- The dance numbers! There’s a lot of rhythms in the movie – from Salsa and merengue to hip hop and bolero. “The Club” is a Salsa dancing scene full of over-the-top Salsa moves that are a hoot to watch. There’s a dance scene in a pool that’ll wow you, and there’s a lovely, slow dance by Nina and Benny (played by Corey Hawkins), on the side of a building (things that only happen in movies) that is perhaps my favorite of all.
- Star struck moments –
- Marc Anthony is in the movie!
- Jimmy Smits sings.
- The mastermind of it all – Miranda – has a small role as Mr. Piragüero and does it sporting a beard.
- There’s a really cool tribute to a few of the Latin women who have opened ground for us all – Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Frida Kahlo, Celia Cruz, Dolores Huerta, Isabel Allende, Sandra Cisneros, Julia de Burgos, Rigoberta Menchu, the Mirabal sisters, and Sonia Sotomayor.
IN THE HEIGHTS is 2 hours and 23 minutes long, rated PG-13, and in my opinion totally worth your time!