Brad Miner | July 6, 2021

The other day, Herself and I decided to beat the sweltering New York heat by going to see (in an air-conditioned theater!) a movie about New York over three days during an even greater heatwave – so hot, in fact, that the city loses power.

I remember the Northeast blackout of 2003. Before cellphone service was overwhelmed by everybody from Cincinnati to Montreal trying to call home, my wife and I managed to connect and meet on Avenue of the Americas, the entire expanse of which – from Central Park to Greenwich Village – was a river of people flooding out of the skyscrapers. It was fun. There was a kind of festival quality about it.

But it was not as enjoyable as director Jon M. Chu’s In the Heights, based on the 2005 stage play written by Quiara Alegría Hudes with music and lyrics by (and I do not hesitate to call him “the great”) Lin-Manuel Miranda – he of Hamilton fame. The film’s choreographer is Christopher Scott.

I suffered through Mr. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians (2018), which I did not enjoy, but In the Heights shows him as competent with the musical format as any director since Robert Wise, whose West Side Story (1961) took that Broadway sensation to new heights.

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