Review: 'In The Heights' Makes for a Cotton-Candy Sweet, Deliciously Summery Spectacle

Review: 'In The Heights' Makes for a Cotton-Candy Sweet, Deliciously Summery Spectacle

The long-gestating film adaptation of In The Heights might have been filmed pre-Covid, but it feels tailor-made to lure audiences back into theaters—the sort of movie that’s made to be seen on a big screen with a tub of popcorn and an Icee. It’s a hefty dose of summer sunshine that can be enjoyed in air-conditioned, mosquito-free comfort. The summer tentpole is back! Director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) does a truly outstanding job adapting the musical for the screen, utilizing the particular strengths of the film medium in the telling of the story. The opening eponymous musical number “In The Heights” is a particular triumph. Instead of merely filming actors dancing, the music seeps into the very tools of cinematic storytelling, into rhythmically cut montages that luxuriate in making use of all the little details one can’t really use in theater. A remarkable window reflection shot rises to the challenge of picking between an expressive close-up and an intricately choreographed wide shot by doing both at the same time. A later musical number set in a beauty salon …
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