In the Heights Movie Review

Kicking off the summer, Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights gripped audiences with stellar performances and beautiful soundtrack.


The character Usnavi, played by actor Anthony Ramos, is seen holding hands with the character Vanessa, played by actress Melissa Barrera.

Running time: 2:23. Watch it at home on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube.

In the Heights is the story of a disappearing New York City community, Washington Heights. The community is depicted as disappearing due to the shops closing and people leaving. The movie follows a variety of characters but is told from the perspective of Usnavi, played by Anthony Ramos. Throughout the film, Usnavi tells his story to his daughter and her friends in order to keep Washington Heights alive. 


The story told in the movie is funny, inspiring, and heartwarming, but what draws and actively engages the audience of the movie is its heart and soul: the music. 


The obvious draw to this new movie was Lin-Manuel Miranda. The stage-to-film adaptation of Hamilton was a huge success, and he brought that same success to his film adaptation of the Broadway show: In the Heights. His trademark combination of modern hip-hop and R&B music with classical Broadway show tunes made the movie timeless and ageless. 


I personally watched the movie with my great aunt and uncle, and all of us were amazed and obsessed with the story and soundtrack, but most importantly what the soundtrack meant in the story. Without the music the storyline is simple—warm, but simple. The soundtrack creates a culture for the movie. 


In the Heights was the first live-action musical to hit the top of the chart since The Greatest Showman, and that clearly says a lot, because The Greatest Showman is incredible and received much critical acclaim. For FORTY-SEVEN non-consecutive weeks the In the Heights’ soundtrack was at No. 1 on the charts. Miranda proved, once again, that his music tells a story that everyone will want to hear. 


Going back to the storyline itself, Usnavi, the storyteller, owns a corner store in Washington Heights. For the majority of the movie, he is working towards a better life, his dream life. The movie follows his journey along with Nina, Benny, Vanessa, and Sonny’s stories. Each journey is developed intimately, but the overall theme of there existing a better place is implemented into each one.


For the sake of being completely objective, a few storylines felt unfinished at the end, mainly Sonny’s. From my very hopeful perspective, this could possibly imply this is not the last we will be seeing of Sonny’s story. Reportedly, Leslie Grace, the actress who plays Nina, claims the cast is petitioning for a sequel.


However, while they all may dream of a better life out there, the family they create in Washington Heights perseveres as a dream of its own. This warm story of love, family, social justice, music, and home exceeded its expectations and is truly inspiring. Hopefully, the Heights don’t disappear on us.