In The Heights was officially released last week in theaters and on HBO Max. It is a film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony award winning musical by the same name. I saw the stage show a few years ago at Olney Theatre after seeing Miranda’s blockbuster musical, “Hamilton”. To be honest, I remembered the music and choreography being fantastic, but I had not remembered much about the plot or the message. Thanks to the movie, which I saw last night, not only do I understand the message now, I cannot stop thinking about it.
The movie stirred so many emotions. Sadness because it reminded me of how much I have missed live theatre and visiting NYC. Joy at seeing Miranda himself in a cameo role, watching the brilliant performances of several Broadway names, and seeing footage of pre-pandemic NYC — full of laughter, shouting, cars honking, and music. I was also very happy to be back in a movie theater again, fully immersed in the world onscreen.
But what I loved the most was the story itself, which seemed to be less about the gentrification of NYC neighborhoods (the plot I had remembered) and more about dreams and family. Almost every character had a “sueñito” — a little dream, and because the older generation had worked so hard to provide for their families and support their communities, the younger generations were able to chase bigger dreams. The characters’ dreams changed as they learned about all of the possibilities available to them, realized what was truly important, and gained self-confidence. When times were hard, the older generation’s mantra was, “paciencia y fe” (patience and faith), which helped everyone keep their dreams alive.
I left the theater with new hope and a new energy (as well as plans to see this movie again on the IMAX screen because the cinematography is breathtaking.) There is something here for every generation — parents, siblings, friends, and even kids. I hope that you find a chance to see it.
To your dreams, large and small, and to those who came before you and made those dreams possible…