An excerpt from my script review for In the Heights which will be available 06/28/21:

3.) Quality of Characters

So following along with my initial thought from the last section, we knew where this was going.

Everyone was dreaming of “making it big” and breaking out of the Heights, only to realize they were where they loved to be.

And my concern here? I didn’t care.

Most of the dreams and dreamers boiled down to the guy at Starbucks bragging about writing his book or screenplay every day. One day he’ll make it big. You’ll see!

Talk all you want brother, if you don’t put the work in you’re not going anywhere, and typing where people will see you isn’t the work I’m talking about.

For example, Nina.

She was the one everyone was pinning their hopes and dreams on going to Stanford.

But once there she’s faced with all these challenges, given her cultural and economic background.

The story was trying to make her empathetic, but unfortunately they only had Nina tell us, not show us the disparities.

So the impact was lost on me, as it probably was to most readers.

And this rang true for most of the characters in the script.

Usnavis is a good guy, especially watching out for his cousin (I think it was cousin) Sonny.

But we knew he wasn’t going anywhere because of his “love” for Vanessa.

The one practical character I appreciate was Daniela, who saw the times were changing and she got out because it made financial sense for her to.

She even says so to the other characters, arguing she’s just a few stops away by train or bus.

The rest though?

It goes back to my argument about immigrants choosing to stay in New York City.

There’s a bigger world out there folks, and if home is where the heart is, you can do it with less of a struggle for you and your cultural community.

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