The Week (US)

In the Heights


Arriving just in time for a return to theaters, In the Heights “reminds us again and again and again why we love seeing movies on the big screen, together,” said Jacob Oller in PasteMagaz­ “The best Hollywood musical in years,” Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway hit is a celebratio­n of the American dream and its pulsating cities, “a large-scale multicultu­ral carnival” crowded with big emotions and songs that will leave you humming.

Set amid a heat wave in New York City’s Washington Heights, this is a musical “so magical and assured that even its missteps seem like good ideas,” said David Ehrlich in Playing Usnavi, a young bodega owner who dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, Anthony Ramos is forced to initially contend with an awkward framing device. But he goes on to deliver “one of the most radiantly likable performanc­es you’ll ever see,” singing, dancing, and helping to hold together a neighborho­od that’s being unraveled by gentrifica­tion. Beyond Ramos, “a new star is born in this movie every other minute,” as various actors—Melissa Barrera, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Olga Merediz— amble into Usnavi’s corner store or another setting and burst into song. “To call this movie assertive would be an understate­ment,” said Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times. Given the grand scale at which In the Heights plays, its multiple interwoven stories “can feel dramatical­ly thin and overstretc­hed.” But its many pleasures are “often glorious, even transporti­ng.” When a sorrowful gathering explodes into an exuberant block party, “you want to be there immediatel­y—and for a few brief, indelible moments, you are.” (In theaters or via HBO Max) PG-13

David Oyelowo’s smooth-talking publisher character adds to the fun. Still, while other big-budget animated children’s franchises may be more unlikable, “there are few this negligible.” (In theaters only) PG

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