Students Break Down In the Heights


By Brooke Ehmann – Jones

November 1, 2021

2021 musical drama film starring Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Jimmy Smits, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, based on the stage musical by Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the story of members of a primarily Hispanic and Latinx Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City where they pursue their dreams of a better life. 

This movie is based on the musical, In the Heights, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Quiara Algería Hudes which opened on Broadway in March 2008. The movie paints a spirited and colorful picture of the lives of all of the members of this tight-knit community, told by a likable bodega owner who imagines and sings of a better life. We see the vivacious and vibrant journey of these people, the challenges they face, and their moments of inspiration and recovery. It mainly follows the path of Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), an empathetic bodega owner with dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic to rebuild and reopen his late father’s previous business; Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), working at a nail salon but has bigger aspirations to be a fashion designer; Benny (Corey Hawkins), works tirelessly to save the taxi cab company he works at that is going under; and Nina Rosario (Leslie Grace), the communities academic star for getting into Stanford University, but having conflicting emotions about returning after experiencing a year there. 

Focusing mainly on Nina Rosario who had left her Latina community for college and questioned her identity upon returning, Chloe Bernasconi, an 8th grader at Glasgow talks about her connection to this movie, saying, “I can connect to the characters because I can understand feeling like I am losing my Latina identity because I haven’t been back in so long and I don’t feel much connection to it anymore.” 

Blue Linden, an 8th grader at Glasgow shares, “I connect with the grief of losing a loved one that Usnavi had, desperately hoping for the relative not to die and being super sad when they did. My grandfather died a few years ago, and the grief stayed around for a while.” 

Both Chloé and Blue enjoyed the colorful cinematography, choreography, and music of this movie, adding to the fact that it’s an absolute must for Glasgow viewers. Glasgow celebrated Hispanic Heritage month from September 15th to October 15th, recognizing the contributions and influence Hispanic Americans have on our history and culture in the US. In the Heights gives us a very real-life and deep experience of Hispanic culture and people, opening our eyes and connecting to the lives of many students at Glasgow that can relate to this movie and beyond. Watching In the Heights will not only help celebrate Hispanic culture all year round, but will also give you an incredible and unforgettable show!