Of course, there is no certainty as the studio (like CNN, part of WarnerMedia) will continue their practice of simultaneously releasing the film on HBO Max. Regardless of the screen size, the result is a film whose old-fashioned charm practically jumps out of it and whose melodies will accompany for many days.
The story goes that he runs the local bodega and tries to make ends meet while longing for Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who has her own desire to escape and become a fashion designer. The other key pair share a past where Nina (Leslie Grace) comes home from Stanford unsure if she belongs, and Benny (Corey Hawkins) works for Nina’s father (Jimmy Smits), who is so proud of the accomplishments his daughter is I don’t hear their concerns.
The quarter itself is changing meanwhile and is threatening its everyone-knows-you-name charm with gentrification. Usnavi also considers taking a break and returns to his native Dominican Republic, although the prospect of romance makes even the best of plans difficult.
The simplicity of the story belies the heady nature of the music, from beautiful ballads to a stunning Busby Berkeley-style rendition of “96,000” in the local pool and a beautifully choreographed tribute to Fred Astaire. Throughout the film, the film is bursting with energy and color, with wise casting choices from top to bottom, perhaps especially with Grace (a film debut singer) and Barrera (who starred on the Starz series “Vida”).
These films go unseen, but in terms of delivering on the promise of their material and setting the bar high, audiences are indeed well served if one of them manages to scale those “heights”.
“In the Heights” premieres in theaters and on HBO Max on June 11th. It is rated PG-13.