Grab your popcorn because this film’s a long one.
For many, the 1961 film version of west side story is a beloved classic.
I’m glad to say this re-boot does not disappoint on the recognisable genius of musical timing and dance rhythms.
The whole movie feels nostalgic in a comforting way while simultaneously new and exciting. I am also glad to see the problematic portrayal of Puerto Ricans painted in the same monotone makeup shade in the original film has been overturned for a more realistic varied representation with a Puerto Rican cast that includes afro-latina Ariana De-bose as Anita. Those who idolised Rita Moreno as Anita in the 1961 film will be excited to find out she takes on a role as Valentina in the new film too.
The portrayal of the character ‘Anybodys’ is a perfect example of an update that is subtle, yet clearly communicated to a modern audience and feels in touch with the modern world. Originally described as a tomboy, Anybody’s is now portrayed as a trans man.
This term is not explicitly used in the film, perhaps deciding to leave the character open to interpretation and ditching a rigid label. All in all, this version of Westside story doesn’t break the mould with the story plot but is a visual art form and feels like a modern classic.