Do you ever watch a movie knowing how it’s going to end but you still hope it’ll end differently, and for some reason you’re still surprised when the ending doesn’t suddenly change? As a fan of the original 1961 film based on the classic 1957 Broadway musical, which was inspired by Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet. West Side Story is one of those movies. Steven Speilberg’s retelling of this timeless story, introducing it for a new generation becoming a new modern classic, had me falling in love with the musical all over again.
Speilberg has done it again with West Side Story. Visually stunning from the first shot to the final shot, in my opinion his best film yet. West Side Story transports you into 1950s New York right in the middle of a turf war between Puerto Rican gang the Sharks and caucasian gang the Jets. West Side Story 2021 changed some things up compared to the Broadway show and 1961 film most notably placing the character Doc, the owner of the general store that Tony works at with his Widow Valintina played by the icon Rita Moreno, who originally played the role of Anita in the 1961 film. And giving her the song Somewhere, originally performed by Tony and Maria1. And including changing what was originally as an androginist tomboy called Anybody to a trans boy.
West Side Story introduces some fresh faces such as Rachel Zeigler as Maria, the first Latina woman to play Maria, in her first movie ever. Rachel slipped into the role seamlessly forgetting that she was just a high school senior when she was cast. Also earning as of today her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Another breakthrough actress is Ariana DeBose as the new Anita, also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
West Side Story has also received nominations for Best Director for Steven Speilberg and Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Because this is a musical I can’t not talk about the musical numbers. Some of the best choreography I’ve seen in a musical. The most notable number being America and probably the most memorable song. The balcony scene was a notorious iconic scene as it resembles the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene.
West Side Story is a top tier film that should be experienced in the theater.
WEST SIDE STORY is now playing in theaters