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Paciencia y fe: In The Heights

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

“Everybody’s got a job. Everybody’s got a dream”

Words that couldn’t be more true. It doesn’t matter where you come from. We all have those passions, desires, and hopes for the future. We also go on that same journey to reach our goals.

“In The Heights” the Tony Award winning broadway musical. It is now known as Lin Manuel Miranda’s “first Broadway show”. For the Latino community this was a big deal. I remember the announcement of the show coming to Broadway way back in 2007. I was thrilled. Finally a show written by us starring us. For us! It was only a matter of time before a film was made. After years of development the message about dreaming and where home is has made it to the big screen.

Mi gente there a lot to like in this film.

The realism. While this is a musical and you have some magical moments. The movie looks authentic to the culture and the area. You almost feel like you there. Almost becoming a surreal experience. Its also more emotional. With new plot points and flashback sequences.

The fast pace. Sometimes with movie musicals, it can drag. The movie flys by. Before I realized, we were halfway through.

The filming. The entire movie is filmed in Washington Heights. Mixing creative visuals with real locations makes you feel like you're there. Like you are part of the story.

The choreography. Every dance number is full of life. Mixing many different genres together. Making an eclectic mix. Carnaval del barrio is a triumph. I dare you to watch and not get up to dance.

The visuals. Lots Of flashbacks, breaking the fourth wall, animation, interpretive dance and fantasy sequences. Very creative moves to tell the story. This goes to the direction and cinematography as well

The deeper storyline. Talks of racism, discrimination, gentrification and immigration. It’s still happening in the Latino and Hispanic community. It’s nice to hear it from a different perspective. It is also told in very subtle ways. Adding more to the realism.

Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia. Reprising her Tony Nominated role from the Broadway production. She is nothing less than fantastic. I fought back tears watching her as she represented all the abuelitas. Those who know the play know of abuelas big song “Paciencia y fe” and she delivers. It’s a standout moment of the film. You hear the passion and pain in her voice as she tells her story. I’m so happy this performance is now preserved forever.

Leslie Grace as Nina. I was very surprised with her acting and overall performance. I only know her as a singer, which of course she does well. She has some very powerful and vulnerable scenes. A very good performance.

I originally had some dislikes for the new plot points and deleted songs and characters . However it’s an adaptation and it didn’t take away from the story.

Side note it is very rare to have theatre actors, latino actors and people of color in a big Hollywood movie. It warmed my heart to see them all doing what they do best.

So what is my opinion on “In The Heights”? An amazing film. It was full of life. Colorful characters. Amazing music, direction and cinematography. This was for the culture. A big budget Hollywood musical

film with predominantly latino actors. We have waited over 10 years for this film. But as abuela says, we needed a little patience and faith. And it was worth it.

”In The Heights“ is available for streaming on HBO Max

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