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In the Heights - a musical movie, directed by Jon M. Chu and adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s broadway show that won Tony Awards for Best Musical in 2008. It centers around the stories of families of 20th Century immigrants from the Caribbean and other parts of Latin America who ended up in “Nueva York” with the hope of economic well-being.
At the beginning of the movie, a little girl asks, “What does Sueñito mean?” Anthony Ramos, who plays as Usnavi replies, “Sueñito means little dream.” Interestingly, this explains the major plot of the movie, i.e. little dream.
The story starts with a rap song introducing “sueñito” of different generations of people living in a community of Washington Heights in Manhattan, New York. Usnavi runs a small store with his cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV) and dreams of going back to his father’s place in the Dominican Republic. There’s a character named Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz) from Cuba, one of the oldest and wisest characters, who keeps remembering her mother and her dream to live with no hardships. Again, Nina, played by Leslie Grace, is the first one to go to college. She is expected to fulfill not only her father’s (Jimmy Smits) but the community’s hopes as well. Lil- Manuel Miranda himself plays the role of Mr. Piragüero, who has a small ice cream business. Likewise, there are other characters whose lives and dreams are pictured soulfully in the movie.
“In the Heights” has a list of songs, one after another, all composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, that connect you closer to all the characters. These songs portray the real world where people celebrate little moments in life alongside their hard work and sacrifice. All of the characters believe in their passion while also expecting magic to happen, like winning a lottery someday to win the struggles of life. All in all, the movie highlights the ordinary things that occur in our good and bad days, with a heartwarming appreciation of life.
The effort of everyone involved in the movie to depict the stories through music and dance makes you constantly wish for the movie not to end. While the name “In the Heights” represents Washington Heights, it in fact encourages you to keep seeking your dreams and to keep climbing heights. Jon M. Chu’s previously directed movie Crazy Rich Asians (2018) was a big hit. It’s definite that “In the Heights” will win the hearts of many again.
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