Two gangs both alike in dignity in fair Manhattan where we lay our scene. The typical star crossed lovers story retold yet again through the vision of Stephen Spielberg with splashes of color and musical outbursts serenading the streets. “West Side Story”, a tale loved by many, owning movie screens and Broadway stages redone numerous times and inspiring a plethora of other stories has been presented on the big screen yet again.
The typical trope of love at first sight seems to be a common theme in romantic movies and while skepticism is an underlying feeling I get when watching, all doubt dissipates when Tony and Maria serenade each other with looks of utter captivation and lust. The blooming of their affection towards each other encaptures the audience in a happy daze of warmth and longing for a silver screen passion like theirs. However, the calm tones the couple brings is combated by the fights breaking out around them. The expertly choreographed disputes between friend and foe make muscles tense and heart rates spike. Arguing has never looked so clean and rhythmic.
The classic soundtrack has carried over from the original Broadway musical into the film filling the ears of watchers and covering them in chills from the serendipitous harmonies melting together. Leaving the theater not a mind was blank, every tongue dripping in lyrics and melodies needing to be belted.
The two hours and 36 minute movie was a dazzling kaleidoscope of beautiful dresses and bright dancing suits. The contrast of warm and cool colors between the “jets” and the “sharks” was a genius touch to help the audience distinguish between the two rivals. Steven Spielberg’s rendition of this beloved musical did not disappoint. Not even my clam cool exterior could survive the devastating ending leaving my cheeks wet and my chest aching. Suspicion was aroused at the thought of a new version of the fan favorite but soon any worry surrounding the fresh cast evaporated the second they took the scene.
The actors were spectacular in alternating between high notes and low shouts dancing their merry way into the hearts of all. Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort who played Tony and Maria convinced viewers that they were completely enamored with each other. The rest of the cast displayed true hatred towards each other and a bitter disgust at the thought of mingling between groups. Rita Moreno who played Valentina the owner of the shop Tony lives and works in made a reappearance after playing Anita in the original film.
“West Side Story” has come back to theaters bright and colorful, grasping onto everybody’s attention and keeping them rapt for the entirety of the movie. No expectations were left disappointed and every watcher was left wanting more. With all of the credibility and authority I do not have I highly recommend watching the 2021 version of “West Side Story”.