Finally, I can scream from the fire escapes and rooftops how much I love this movie. I was blessed to get a screener to the movie about a month ago and have been biting my tongue ever since because all I want to do is talk about this film and watch it about 800 more times. I had been blessed to see it on stage Off-Broadway. Let me tell you something, it has lost none of its magic going from a live show to a movie.
I won’t sit here and say that I completely remembered the show. It has after all been well over a decade since I sat in an audience mesmerized. What I do remember from seeing it live was the way it made me feel. I felt seen. I felt heard. I felt vulnerable. And I felt celebrated. I was working in youth development at the time. We would take Bronx tweens and teens on field trips to give them experiences they wouldn’t normally have and in the process, this Bronx girl was able to receive those same experiences. It was pretty normal at the time to expose my students to a life experience that I had missed out on as a teen. Anyway, back to In The Heights. We ended up taking our students to the show because one of my supervisors had seen it and said it was a must-see for our students. We were all about #representationmatters before it became trendy.
Let me tell you something, representation matters at all ages. I was a twentysomething year old that had just failed out of grad school two credits short of graduating! The reason I failed was because I couldn’t afford a textbook and my pride was too big to ask my village for help. I have told very few people about failing out because it was not a highlight of my life but it is part of my story and I am standing in my truth. Watching Nina on that stage gave me chills.
I’m now a fortysomething-year-old woman that looked at Nina and still could connect to her in the movie. Now though, I wanted to protect her as a mother. Every moment of the film spoke to me. I could feel the heat. I could taste the food. I lived each moment with the cast and can only wish that I could dance like them. The colors. The sounds. The fluidity of the movements. I know that all films are art but this, this movie right here is an artistic masterpiece. There isn’t one star in this film. You care about each character and want to see each of them achieve their sueñitos.