Review: West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story

Release Date: December 10, 2021

Run Time: 2 hours & 36 minutes

Reviewed By: Edwina

“An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

I was excited to go see this before it left theaters, so I went on a cold, snowy day with a friend. Sadly, our choices were minimal, as far as theaters go, so we ended up at an AMC that should really be closed for renovations. The seats were dirty, ripped, and broken. I’m also pretty sure they turned off the heat when the movie started! We had to stay though, as it was our last chance to see it in theaters. So we nestled up in our blankets and watched the film roll.

My friend and I are both theater geeks, so seeing the new West Side Story on the big screen was a no brainer. Having familiarity with the plot line and the music made it more enjoyable for both of us. The acting, choreography, and costumes were wonderful and some of the differences between the original and the 2021 version were definitely a plus. Both of us agreed that our favorite addition was Rita Moreno as the new character, Valentina. Valentina is the widow of Doc (Doc is in the original, but not in the new version). Rita is 90 years old now. She played Anita in the original and won an Oscar for the role. In this version, she also sings “Somewhere” and it was worth the price of admission just to see this iconic performer in this role. She is magnificent!

Steven Spielberg did a great job with the artistry of the film. He also did a masterful job intertwining the Spanish dialogue (no subtitles), the Latinx actors playing those roles, and the addition of even more hate and violence than the original.

We all know the ending and it’s sad, but something got lost in our experience when the teenage girls sitting in front of us at the theater thought people dying was funny.

West Side Story is absolutely worth seeing if you are a theater or musical geek!  Sadly, the theater itself put a damper on my mood, but maybe I’ll just have to watch again in the comfort of my home at some point.

W2B Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

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