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In the Heights First Reactions: The Perfect Movie for the Summer Season

Critics on social media say John M. Chu's adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical is a fun, joyful, moving celebration of family, community, and diversity.

by | April 15, 2021 | Comments

We’re still awaiting the results of this year’s Oscars, but here’s some buzz on next year’s awards: In the Heights will be a major contender. We expected as much, but now the critics are making it official. The first reactions from the movie experts have arrived, and they’re almost unanimously positive.

Based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway show, the musical follows characters over a few days in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. Praises are being showered upon director Jon M. Chu and many of the performers, including lead actor Anthony Ramos, as well as its Latinx representation.

The movie will be available simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on June 11, which is almost two months away, but clearly letting the word out early was a good idea.

Here’s what critics are saying about In the Heights:


Is it worth the wait?

I loved it.
– Katey Rich, Vanity Fair

In the Heights is just sheer joy.
– Kathia Woods, Cup of Soul

It’s truly wonderful.
– Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

I’m blown away!
– Therese Lacson, Nerdophiles

One of the best films of 2021.
– Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews


In the Heights

(Photo by Macall Polay/©Warner Bros.)

Should musical fans be especially excited?

Jon Chu has crafted the best on screen musical numbers in, dare I say, years.
Esther Zuckerman, Thrillist

This is the first great musical film of the decade.
Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews

I’m typically not a big musical guy, but In the Heights is a lot of fun.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend


How is the adaptation as a movie?

In the Heights is bursting with life, love and music, augmenting the power of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, transforming it into a joyful cinematic experience.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

In the Heights is gorgeous and has a dynamite opening.
Clayton Davis, AwardsCircuit.com

I wish people knew how to shoot movie musicals, and that’s all I’ll say for now.
Robert Daniels, 812filmreviews


In the Heights

(Photo by Macall Polay/©Warner Bros.)

How are the musical numbers?

The vibrant dance sequences and melodic tunes sway you through and through.
Kay-B, Collider

With catchy songs and memorable musical numbers, this film will move you emotionally and physically.
Rosa Parra, Latinx Lens

The music is great, the set pieces are built creatively and have fantastic choreography.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

My favorite musical number is that of Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia. Put her on your awards predictions now.
Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times


What about John M. Chu’s direction?

I really enjoyed In the Heights from the songs to the elaborate dance sequences making Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical larger than life thanks to Jon M. Chu’s direction.
Sharronda Williams, Pay or Wait

Jon M. Chu’s direction shines through vibrantly staged musical sequences and intimate moments.
Diego Andaluz, The Film Stage

He keeps upping his game with each new feature he helms. If this doesn’t get him a Best Director Oscar nomination next year for crafting this work of beauty, I’ll be damned.
Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews


In the Heights

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

And the performances?

Anthony Ramos delivers a charismatic breakout performance in a sensational cultural celebration that will bring joy to all!
Diego Andaluz, The Film Stage

Anthony Ramos is excellent.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

My heart is truly pleased see Anthony Ramos get the shine he deserves because he is truly a star.
Sharronda Williams, Pay or Wait

Get ready to fall in love with Olga Merediz, the first supporting actress contender of the year. Leslie Grace is another breakout!
Clayton Davis, AwardsCircuit.com

Leslie Grace’s performance in In the Heights rings so true, and I’m sure it will connect with many young Latinos who feel the pressure off succeeding not only for themselves but for their communities as well. She is a star.
Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

In the Heights’ ensemble is out-of-this-world stellar: Ramos and Hawkins turn in top shelf performances. Rubin-Vega, Polanco and Beatriz are dynamically forceful. Merediz is a graceful powerhouse (nom’d for a Tony!). Barrera and Grace give star-defining, touching turns.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction


In the Heights

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Is it a big deal for minority representation?

It’s a beautiful love letter to the Latinx dreamers of NYC.
Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews

A really beautiful display of Latinx culture.
Kay-B, Collider

To say I was overwhelmed with pride and joy when I saw the Mexican flag is an understatement. I enjoyed it! This is the visual representation of “I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams.”
Rosa Parra, Latinx Lens

Latino voices have arrived (we were already here).
Clayton Davis, AwardsCircuit.com

Hopefully a game-change for Latino films in Hollywood.
Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

In the Heights is a beautiful love song to the Pan-Latino communities that exist across the United States. It’s vibrant, heartfelt, and a testament to the strength and joy that lives within our beautiful Latinx, Black, and POC communities.
Yolanda Machado, The Wrap

In the Heights is a celebration of community, family, heritage and dreams.
Rosa Parra, Latinx Lens

It shows the commonalities that bind the community and the differences that make it so rich. It shows how the immigrant story is the American story and reminds us the importance of family, community and following your heart.
Kay-B, Collider


In the Heights

Are we going to want to see this on the big screen one day?

It’s a fun, energetic, incredibly directed, and colorful music epic that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen.
Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews

Deeply compelling and beautifully realized, it’s the film you’ll wanna mark your return to theaters to see.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

I immediately want to see it again on the biggest screen possible with people applauding and dancing in the aisle.
Esther Zuckerman, Thrillist


Is it going to be the movie of the summer no matter how we see it?

In the Heights is THE crowd-pleasing event of the season!
Diego Andaluz, The Film Stage

WOW! This is deserves to be THE movie of the summer.
Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews


In the Heights opens in theaters and streams on HBO Max on June 11, 2021.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

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