Before his name skyrocketed thanks to Hamilton: An American Musical


which in addition to winning wide acclaim from theater critics and winning 11 categories at The 70 th Annual Tony Awards from 16 nominations he received, was also able to achieve great commercial success as well as become a major commercial success. conversation among observers of pop culture in the United States (and the world) – Lin-Manuel Miranda began his career in the theater world by playing the main character and stylist and lyricist of songs featured in the musical stage play In the Heights (2005). While not as popular as Hamilton: An American Musical , In the Heightsable to win a number of awards, including the Tony Awards and the first Grammy Awards won by Miranda. Discussions to adapt In the Heights into a musical film presentation have also started since 2008. However, after going through several changes and changing producers and directors, the production process for the film version of In the Heights only really started in 2018 with Jon M. Chu ( Crazy Rich Asians , 2018) sits in the directing chair.

In the Heights itself tells several stories about a number of characters who live in the Washington Heights settlement in New York City, United States. Usnavi de la Vega ( Anthony Ramos ) is a young man who runs a convenience store. In his daily life, Usnavi de la Vega interacts and has good relations with his neighbors: his best friend Benny ( Corey Hawkins ) who works for a taxi company owned by Kevin Rosario ( Jimmy Smits ); Daniela ( Daphne Rubin-Vega ), Carla ( Stephanie Beatriz ), and Cuca ( Dascha Polanco ) who run a beauty salon; his cousin Sonny ( Gregory Diaz IV), as well as a girl that Usnavi de la Vega likes named Vanessa Morales ( Melissa Barrera ) who works at a salon owned by Daniela, Carla, and Cuca. Apart from living in the same residential area, these characters are also connected to each other with their ambition and efforts to achieve all their dreams of a better life than they are currently living.

Like Hamilton: An American Musical , a script by Quiara Alegría Hudesgoes hand in hand with the lyrics of the songs written by Miranda in presenting a number of themes related to social, cultural, economic, and political in modern human life. In the United States, the Washington Heights settlement is known as a residential area for a population dominated by immigrants or descendants of immigrants of color. It is not surprising that the theme of immigrants’ lives, their efforts to adapt to the environment and white culture, and the ambition to realize the dream of a better life in the United States became the central theme for the storyline of this film. The work of Hudes’ story, combined with songs by Miranda,

At the same time, with a storyline that has many characters, In the Heights doesn’t necessarily manage to tell the story smoothly as a whole. The focus that often changes from one character to another may not be a big problem. However, as the duration of the film progresses, In the Heights often loses focus on a number of characters who actually have had a fairly strong story management since the beginning of the film’s presentation. This is what makes the building of the romance story that exists between the characters Usnavi de la Vega and Vanessa Morales or the characters Benny and Nina Rosasio ( Leslie Grace ) never really feels important. In the Heightsalso often feels alive from moment to moment – ​​with the support of a number of songs that are designed to sound so catchy – rather than present as a presentation that is able to hold the audience’s full attention. A number of songs by Miranda appear with too long a duration – elements that clearly contribute to the duration of the film’s story, which runs up to 143 minutes.

As a “true musical” film – a title given by musical connoisseurs to a film that presents film dialogue as a song and does not separate dialogue from singing in storytelling, In the Heights still manages to present itself with its charm. The cast – guided by the excellent appearance of Ramos – is able to come up with convincing acting. Don’t ask about their singing ability. Chu has chosen a lineup of actors with maximum vocal skills that make every musical moment in this film memorable. The musical moments in this film are also executed through the presentation of the maximum quality of choreography and production system. Despite some weaknesses in the presentation of the story, In the Heights is definitely a musical offering that deserves to be celebrated.