We jest, but it’s true the Latinx community has COME OUT for In the Heights as it hits theaters. We’ve loved reading all the coverage like this interview with the film’s breakout star Leslie Grace by Refinery29’s Ariana Romero or the fact that OPRAH is hosting a block party for the film, (details via Oprah Daily’s Arianna Davis) or this conversation between Jezebel’s Shannon Melero and Olga Merediz. And In the Heights appears to be the one thing Latinas agree on – here are a dozen (a literal DOZEN) reviews from Latinas below and they all love it!
For The Wrap, Monica Castillo writes, “Like Crazy Rich Asians, not everyone is going to feel represented when they watch In the Heights. That’s an impossible task for any movie. Yet In the Heights can represent many things for many different viewers. It can be a story about ambitious, hard-working people chasing their dreams. It can be a reflection on the immigrant experience and the struggle to find where you belong. It can also be a tribute to our parents’ sacrifices.” Read her full review.
Lapacazo Sandoval calls it like it is for New York Amsterdam News, declaring, “Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius and if he had not received a single award, it would not have mattered. A genius is a genius.” She notes, “There is a joy watching Puerto Ricans and Dominicans and living in one of the hardest cities in America. There is also inspiration and a life lesson to be learned. They carved out their place in Washington Heights and filled it with life, love, song, and hope.” Read her full review.
Over at the A.V. Club, TV editor Danette Chavez expands her beat to cover the film. She calls In the Heights, “a loving tribute to the Latinx communities that have made Washington Heights their home.” And writes, “The timeless quality of Miranda’s original story, which combined wanderlust and an exploration of the Latin American diaspora, meets a timely discussion on dehumanizing immigration policies… In The Heights’ irrepressible energy—transmitted by a big cast of rising stars and veteran performers—is the perfect note on which to kick off this summer’s blockbuster season.” Read her full review.
For We Live Entertainment, Adriana Gomez-Weston writes, “What’s most special about In the Heights is that it shines a light on an often overlooked community on film. There’s certainly a lot to resonate with anyone. For me, what resonated the most was its deconstruction of the American Dream and its definition of home. We often search for meaning and ‘home’ elsewhere, but what we’re looking for the most is often in our own backyard, or at least on our own block.” Read her full review.
Diandra Rivera of Diandra Reviews It All likewise loves it: “Created by legend Lin Manuel Miranda and directed by the phenomenal Jon M. Chu, I was mystified watching In the Heights, especially because I could have watched it again and again. [This] is the Latino experience; a community known for its joy, creativity, and passion, but ignored in its woes and systemic sufferings. In the Heights: The Movie embodies, in some ways, our struggle to be seen but embraces the reality that we have an undeniable presence.” Read her full review.
CineMovie TV’s Lupe Rodriguez Haas perceptively notes, “While the sense of community is the crutch of this story, it’s the various themes that pack the punch. Each character represents a different American dream. Usnavi envisions a better life in his father’s homeland, the Dominican Republic. His love interest Vanessa (Barrerra) has big dreams of becoming a clothing designer but she feels like she has to move out of the neighborhood to accomplish her desire.” Although, she has to admit, “At a running time of two hours and twenty-minutes, the gas runs out in terms of spectacle, but the communal experience never ends.” Read her full review.
Cup of Soul founder Kathia Woods calls the film “a pure joy,” before going on to say, “The music and authentic touches that can only be found in Latin cultures are the best parts of In the Heights. Although snow cones over ice cream, rice and beans, ropa vieja, mangú at family gatherings, gossip at the hairdresser, and other activities are not exclusive to Washington Heights, they are an important part of the community’s hustle and bustle. Then there’s the rhythm of the streets, which is wonderfully captured in a Latino based music score.” Read her full review.
Kate Sánchez of But Why Tho? agrees. For her, it’s “the most stunning example of Latinx joy I have ever seen on screen,” writing that, “Every once in a while there is a movie that reaches through the screen, hugs you, and lets you know you’re seen. For me, it had been a long while since that happened, then, I saw In the Heights.” Read her full review.
And so does Lyra Hale, writing in The Mary Sue, “It’s a movie filled with so much life, love, wonder, and hope that you find yourself laughing, loving, and enjoying this movie from start to finish. I cried for the wonder and spectacle that was this movie was and how familiar it felt to me, down to my bones… This is who we truly are. We are vibrant communities from all over who have found a home with each other.” Read her full review.
Lola Lambchops’ Tania Lamb speaks directly to her experience watching the film as a Latina, writing, “When Usnavi asks a group of children in the movie to repeat ‘Washington Heights’” he says, ‘Say it so it doesn’t disappear.’ In The Heights is a story of love, a love of life and community. And maybe, because I’m Latina, it hits differently. But this film makes me so proud of my heritage, and hopefully the audience gains what I gained while watching- immense joy and inspiration.” Read her full review.
Rosa Parra and Catherine Gonzales dedicate an entire episode of their Latinx Lens podcast to In the Heights, inviting their social media manager Sarah M. Vasquez to join the discussion. Take this quote from Rosa as your teaser, “Carnaval del Barrio is the visual representation that Latinos are not a monolith [with] all these different flags, all these different countries that we come from or descend from… I was raised with that sense of pride, to be proud of my roots, to be proud of my ancestry. And one way to do that was with that Mexican flag. To see that flag being waved… in this number as a form of pride and representation… brought tears to my eyes.” Listen to their full discussion.
Lastly, for our friends at the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA), Toni Gonzales reminds us that “In the Heights was the breakout show that took Miranda and the neighborhood from being relatively unknown to Broadway royalty” before declaring, “In the Heights is the film we all need right now. It is not to be missed. If you feel safe enough, do yourself a solid and see it in the theater. In the Heights is out on HBO Max and in theaters Friday, June 11.” Read her full review.