‘West Side Story’ (2021) Review: A spectacular and overwhelming cinematic musical experience

WEST SIDE STORY (2021) Review
Directed by Steven Spielberg

A period musical that is exciting, emotional, and vibrant? I don’t know how Steven Spielberg did it, but West Side Story is as relevant as it is superb.

I’m only familiar to some songs from the musical and I haven’t watched the original 1961 movie prior to watching the 2021 version. But seeing the movie in the big screen, knowing its story for the first time, I’m overwhelmed with what Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner has done with the film. Exhilarating and spectacular.

Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort are the main characters in the film but the treatment feels like its a ensemble, no main characters, just that the story moves and revolves because and around the two. Their performances are just the right amount for the drama, romance and a little bit of comedy, the story needed from them. What really made an impact though are the performances of David Alvarez, Mike Faist, and Ariana DeBose, that America sequence is to die for. The song and energy of the scene were high and the visuals were colorful but I was dying on my seat because of how beautiful the scene was. It was perfect.

The acting, the choreography, how the musical numbers were framed, this is probably one of the most beautifully-shot musicals ever. West Side Story is an unforgettable experience inside the cinema, I wanted to watch it again as soon as I left the cinema. If only the pandemic doesn’t limit our experience watching movies.

I was having, as the famous song from Dirty Dancing said, the Time of My Life, while watching the movie on the big screen. One of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had in recent memory. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg still has it. Adapting and remaking a classic musical like this, it’s just exciting what Spielberg can do in his future projects.

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

‘West Side Story’ is now showing in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Studios. Rated PG by the MTRCB. #WestSideStoryPH

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