A man named Usnavi de la Vega narrates to his four children about his life in Washington Heights, 10 years ago. The next scene cuts to different shots of New York City as well as the opening number, called “In the Heights,” followed by the title sequence.
Usnavi introduces many people that he has encountered during that time, such as Abuelo Claudia, who was a grandmotherly figure to everyone since she’d never had children of her own. Other people include his best friend, Benny, his teenage cousin, Sonny, and his love interest, Vanessa.
Another major character that the movie focuses on includes a woman named Nina, who’s treated like a celebrity… until she reveals that she dropped out of college. She gets into a few fights with her father, who thinks he knows what’s best for her. But she has her own dreams, as do the other characters.
That is a major element of this film – people following their dreams. The movie also switches from various characters’ points-of-view, which made the story a bit hard to follow.
However, multiple points-of-view carry significance—it happens in movies all the time. It provides more information about the characters, such as their goals, behaviors, and why they do certain things, whether they are right or wrong. But for some reason, the P.O.V.-switching confused me here.
That being said, the movie does have lots of strengths, such as the numerous twists and turns. But the biggest perks of all are the musical numbers and dancing.
As a musical, the singing and dancing constantly happen every few minutes or so. They all have Spanish tunes, as well – and beyond-superb dancing. After all, the music was created by Lin Manuel Miranda, who played the first Hamilton in the respected Broadway show – and here – Usnavi.
I will admit, though, that the movie did start out a bit unengaging, but drew my attention and made me enjoy it as the story progressed. There were also a lot of scenes that made me curious about what would happen. I won’t say what – you will have to see the film to find out.
I rate In the Heights 4 out of 5 stars, and would recommend it.