Lights up on Washington Heights, how did you find your epic stroll through the New York neighborhood through Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musicality? The long-awaited musical adaptation of In The Heights directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu hit theaters and streaming this past weekend, and it’s been a huge talking point among cinephiles. But what did they have to say?
Fans Cannot Hold Back Their Emotion Over The Movie
In The Heights is a feel-good movie, but it's the kind of feel-good movie that you find yourself randomly crying over. With insane dance numbers, touching stories and song-and-dance numbers good enough to give one chills, many viewers of the movie took to social media to share how emotional the experience was for them. As one fan put it:
The movie starts with an incredibly epic opening number where Anthony Ramos’ Usnavi introduces his life as a bodega owner before expanding into a massive dance number in Washington Heights. It’s almost exhausting how involved its first few minutes are ahead of an over two-hour musical packed with amazing sequences against a powerful story. Many happy tears were had:
There’s a lot of layers to the emotion In The Heights may incite for its audience. There’s the performances themselves, and then there’s the rare display of the Latinx community being placed on the center stage for the summer movie. And once the movie gets going, it keeps going, making for a few reaches for the tissues necessary:
No spoilers here, but the emotional gut punch between “Albanza” and “Carnaval Del Barrio” is truly a lot to take in. Overall, In The Heights was an emotional rollercoaster for a lot of fans in a good way.
Broadway Fans Love The Callbacks, But Are Bummed About The Song Cuts
It’s not every day that Broadway fans are treated to a musical adaptation like In The Heights (sometimes not even every year). So when In The Heights came out, the theater fans came out of the woodwork to share their thoughts on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical. And for one, they were really excited to see the playwright make an appearance as the Piragua guy alongside the production’s original Benny, Chris Jackson:
Chris Jackson, who also played George Washington in the original cast of Hamilton, was a fun addition to In The Heights as he played the Mr. Softee guy fighting for business from Miranda’s character. There was also an awesome Hamilton easter egg that fans of Miranda couldn’t get enough of:
We’ve actually broken down a number of other cool details from In the Heights, so you can check out if those reveals also tickled your fancy. But for all the awesome nods within the movie, those who knew the musical on stage before its big-screen debut were also bummed about a few things with the movie:
One wouldn’t know it if In The Heights is your introduction into the musical, but for those who already loved the show, there are eight songs missing. The one particularly missed is “Sunrise,” a duet sung by Benny and Nina in addition to “When You’re Home” and “When the Sun Goes Down.” Sacrifices had to be made to fit into its runtime, but it’s never easy to see great songs go.
Fans Are Already Campaigning For Olga Merediz’s Oscar
In a movie full of great moments, the In The Heights scene that is being talked about the most among fans is Olga Merediz’s Abuela Claudia big song “Paciencia y Fe,” translated to patience and faith. It’s a stunning number filled with emotion as Usnavi’s chosen grandmother tells her story, something that has passed down to her through the generations. It’s an immigrant story and the moment people particularly stopped to talk about:
It was the moment that truly best highlights the themes being highlighted in the musical. And people loved it so much that they couldn’t take it:
Olga Merediz is the original Abuela Claudia as well, since she played the role on Broadway alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Usnavi on stage. She’s had years of practice for the song, but the song is elevated by Jon M. Chu’s direction of the scene that takes Claudia on the subway with a group of dancers. Fans are already hoping the actress will be nominated for her role:
It’s a bit too early to get into Oscar hopefuls, but we’ll certainly be watching out for if Olga Merediz remains in the conversation as the award season rolls around later this year.
It’s Being Criticized For Its Lack Of Afro-Latinx Leads
Lastly, In The Heights has sparked a conversation about representation following its release. The movie has the rough job of depicting the real New York community of Washington Heights, where a melting pot of people call it their home. The movie does not include any dark-skinned Afro-Latinx people in leading roles. As one fan shared:
The conversation became amplified after The Root interviewed the cast about the gap in representation, pointing out that many of the Latinx actors in the film were light-skinned and white passing. Chu’s response, along with some of the cast’s answers, angered some members of the community that felt underrepresented. It lead to Black Latinx people, including those who know the Washington Heights community, to be disappointed:
The criticism has become so prevalent in the film’s conversation that Lin-Manuel Miranda posted an apology on his Twitter and has shared his hopes to do better moving forward. As fans shared, a major part of the community of In The Heights was not included in the film and it inspired deeper conversations about Hollywood's attempts at diversity.
There’s a lot of love for In The Heights overall, but it has definitely sparked some mixed conversation among fans since its release. What did you think of the movie? Vote in our poll below and get ready for more high-profile releases here on CinemaBlend with upcoming 2021 movie releases.