It is impossible not to compare Lin-Manuel Miranda’s most recent film to his hit show Hamilton.
While In the Heights showcases the best of Miranda’s humour and musical talent, for a 2 1/2 hours long, it was hard not to wonder, how many more musical numbers will I have to sit through?
In the Heights is a film adaptation of the Broadway musical by the same name, which Miranda also had a hand in creating.
It follows Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner in the tight-knit community of Washington Heights.
Many of the character’s dreams and hopes are explored through song rather than spoken dialogue, giving the film an overall vibrant and upbeat feel.
However, in between these moments of vibrancy are songs about literally everything, making parts of the film feel like they drag on unnecessarily by focusing on these mundane moments rather than skipping over them.
Traditional stage musicals rely heavily on songs to convey the story, though it seems like an odd choice to carry this convention and style over to a film adaptation.
Audiences who enjoyed “musical” films like Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) and A Star is Born (2018) may find this song-dense format harder to follow and enjoy as it fails to follow the same balanced mixture of song and traditional movie character dialogue.
The storylines of these films were also focused on musicality and following a musical career, which In the Heights is not.
Unfortunately, In the Heights falls into that cheesy category of musical film where characters will sing every chance they get, whether about a heatwave, their job as a hairdresser or just opening a bottle of champagne.
However, there is definitely love for these cheesy films, evident in High School Musical’s (2006) success and status as a classic among younger generations.
If you are an avid fan of Broadway but can’t get to the theatre, this is a great alternative that truly feels like they’ve brought stage to screen.
Hamilton (2020) fans will enjoy the numerous references to the hit musical throughout In the Heights, while the casting of Miranda and fellow Hamilton star Anthony Ramos will have pulled fans in from the get-go.
If you love Hamilton and Miranda’s sense of humour, this film is worth watching just for the references and cameos.