SunV

India

she/her
ca alum!

it takes two to break a heart

est. 11/10/19

playing '22 break' by oh wonder
────⚪─────────
◄◄⠀▐▐ ⠀►►
1:05/3:24

Message from Writer

hope will never be enough.
and neither will be grief.
-because sometimes almost is all you need (an original)

'In The Heights', because family isn't defined by blood

September 13, 2021

In all honesty, I was dying to watch In The Heights because I had never truly exited my Hamilton phase, and needed to see this other acclaimed masterpiece by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I was not disappointed.
    The musical-turned-movie, set in Washington Heights, follows a young store owner, Usnavi, and the other residents of the town; as they try to save their disappearing town (their disappearing culture), all the while figuring out how to live out their dreams.
    For Hamilfans, familiar faces pop up throughout the movie. The lead (Usnavi) being played Anthony Ramos, with appearances from both Lin-Manuel himself, and Christopher Jackson. Stephanie Beatriz, known for her role as Rosa on Brooklyn-Nine-Nine, plays a smaller but still important role, and Olga Merediz, who also played the same role throughout the broadway run of the musical, reprises her role as Abuela. Some other noteworthy actors in the musical are Melissa Barrera (Vanessa), Leslie Grace (Nina) and Corey Hawkins (Benny).
    On the surface, the musical seems like a fun little piece about the lives of the people; we watch as they fall in and out of love, and listen to funky musical numbers where everyone's dancing on the street. But when looking a little deeper, questions start to arise: why did a musical with a plot like such become such a big hit? Why did it draw me in, a person who needs a plot to be drawn into any story? Why has it become such a big name in musical theatre? 
    Some themes that the play adresses goes deeper than what you can see on the surface. Nina, who is undoubtedly one of the brightest young adults from Washington Heights, quits her dream college because she felt out of place there. She found a lack of representation for her community, and growing up in a place like Washington Heights, had never thought that that would be the case. Her decision to quit led to miscommunications, damaged relationships, but ultimately, new purposes.
    The movie also adresses the struggles faced by undocumented immigrants in the US; the opportunities (the life) they miss out on. It also sheds light on the lengthy process of becoming a documented citizen.
    The musical also shows the how far-fetched the expectation of being able to live comfortably is, especially in a state like New York, where affording an apartment can be a huge struggle. In fact, a character constantly tries to earn enough to buy her own flat, with little success. In today's world, living on smaller jobs is getting harder every day, and the harsh reality is that reversing this isn't going to be easy, maybe even impossible.
    But the movie also talks about having a community, one where, even in the midst of a blackout, they light up the streets. Having friends who will tease you about the fact that you are most definitely attracted to the local bodega owner, but when he breaks your heart, will be there to watch a movie and have popcorn. It shows how family isn't defined by blood, and your family is who you make it.
    The editing and cinematography are all absolutely spectacular. A third of the movie is spent in a blackout, and the feel of the light in the midst of darkness was emphasised and pulled off with grace. The large dance numbers on the streets of Washington Heights were captured with wide-angle shots, with the occassional close ups now and again.
    Upbeat dance numbers and soft ballads both make their way into the duration of the movie, and the vocals and instrumentals are all breath-taking, you will be dancing with the people of Washington Heights.
    The movie starts out with Usnavi narrating what was to come to four young children, in what seems like a beach. But as the movie progresses, we realise that what we thought was the beach, was not the beach at all. No-- it had been Washington Heights all this time. The characters we see have an air of realism around them-- they're not perfect, but that makes them more relatable. 
    The blend of comedy, drama and romance is something I never thought I'd enjoy, since I don't particularly enjoy comedy when it's a dominating genre, but this was an exception. Every single character had something to teach me, and each storyline left with me something to think about.
    Washington Heights. Say it, so it doesn't disappear.

Login or Signup to provide a comment.