Came in with a very low expectation, not knowing this is inspired by a Broadway musical, not to mention I couldn't care less if this movie was delayed because of Covid-19 and had never seen the trailer before prior to my first viewing, I was stunned and shocked to admit that this is in my top 3 Broadway/theater-based musical genre after La La Land & The Greatest Showman.
Rarely we get to see a Hollywood film where all of the cast are led by the Latino community. This movie speaks volumes for them, where the central message lies on hope, racism, dual standard, dreams, family, friendship, the art of letting go and what it means to become an outsider.
In the Heights is inspired by its Broadway musical and as far as the story goes, they cut Nina's storyline and it gets sidetracked when hers should also be the highlight alongside Vanessa's. The story doesn't go as deep as Les Miserables but isn't as shallow as The Greatest Showman either (The only problem with TGS for me), it stays somewhere in the middle, just enough to get your attention.
In the Heights sends chills down your spine every time you witness the cast dancing and singing. The best thing is that the music and showmanship get better the more times you watch it and I will assure you, you'll have your fingers tapping backward and forward on your device to rewatch some of your preferred numbers. My top 3 songs include In the Heights, 96,000 & Carnavel del Barrio.
What's outstanding in this film is that there are parts in almost every dance number, some dancers go unsynchronized with the choreography. But as the audience, you couldn't care less because the songs are so juicy and refreshing, the only thing you want is to just rejoice and have yourself grooving. What's even better is that the unsynchronization actually makes the movie better, with deeper related metaphors; in that we accept people's imperfections and to let go of the insecurities within us and just... enjoy your life to the fullest!
One thing though, the colour grading could have been better. It paints this dour, gloomy, half-cooked gritty world all over it. Even when the scorching Sun arrives, it seems to have appeared somewhat dull. I get the intended meaning behind it, that this community's life is pale and has its sufferings amidst Summer is happening but imagine if the colour is as bright as The Greatest Showman or La La Land or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. You'll be drooling all over your shirt