The just released film ‘In the Heights’ based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is what we need this Summer: A love declaration to life.
There’s nothing new here. We know hot summers in New York. Spike Lee’s ‘Do the right thing’ showed it. We know how different ethnic cultures are cramped separated in different blocks contradicting the myth of America’s melting pot. We know the blackout in New York. We know these dreams of career, luck, success, wealth – and the tragic failures.
There’s nothing new under the hot boiling sun over New York and still it feels fresh in ‘In the Heights’.
A Mix of Latin Rhythms and Hip Hop
Maybe it is because of the music, this mix of Latin rhythms and Hip Hop. Maybe it is because the characters are actually very down to earth. The main character would like to move to the Dominican Republic to re-open his father’s small business. I wondered in which other US American film a character wants to emigrate from the US to live a slightly better life?
Maybe because there isn’t any fight between good and a personified evil. The opponent is rather the system and the society they are against: The limited opportunities due to poverty, the loss of home due to gentrification.
So, the happy ending is rather that everything stays the same for those who just want to live a normal life.
Life in ‘The Heights’
Given this portrait of unexciting lifes of ordinary people ‘In the Heights’, it is astonishing that Lin-Manuel Miranda moved to the legendary bigger than life figure ‘Hamilton’. The link, however, between these two pieces is the interest of the composer in social conditions … and the use of Hip Hop music.
The success of ‘Hamilton’ surely helped to allow for this exuberant musical film version with great mass dance scenes and some playful VFX scenes. Whether a film version of ‘Hamilton’ that should become more likely with the success of ‘In the Heights’ will work as well as its predecessor needs to be seen – and according to press reports, Lin-Manual Miranda is also not fully sure whether a live action film of ‘Hamilton’ would be a good idea.
In any case, The energetic music and, the positive vibes of the people is so persuasive that even after a few days having watched this films you still have the feeling that you definitely will want to return the people ‘In the Heights’ . And that’s actually is what the film is about.