If someone told me at the beginning of 2021 that West Side Story was going to end up being one of my favorite films of the year, I would not believe them at all. The trailers really did not do much for me at all, what I was very interested in was Spielberg directing and Rachel Zegler plus Ariana DeBose. West Side Story sets the tone of it’s music with the opening, it’s fast paced, very well filmed and very strong music wise. The whole film makes sure to tell the audience how massive it is, it’s a type of technique that I haven’t seen in a film in quite awhile. It’s mostly thanks to Spielberg’s direction which creates a beautiful picture along with the cinematography, which works perfectly with the choreography from everyone involved. Rachel Zegler gives a fantastic first time performance, she absolutely shines like a star and is definitely someone who’s going to have a nice long career, Ariana DeBose gives a fantastic performance as well, between the choreography and her singing voice she absolutely nails it. There’s one scene in particular with both Zegler and DeBose that truly show how powerful their voices are together, Rita Moreno brings more of the quite moments to life and does a spectacular job of doing just that, finally there’s Mike Faist who delivers some quite amazing choreography and brings so much emotion to his role. Ansel Elgort is definitely the weakest of the bunch there are moments where he’s not too bad, but Elgort isn’t enough to bring this film down. Mainly because the film isn’t the Elgort show it explores the different characters and how they feel about the current situations, plus everyone else involved completely out shines Elgort to the point where you completely forgot he was even there. Spielberg’s direction is truly perfection and a huge breath of fresh air after his last couple films, his direction in West Side Story really reminds you of why he’s one of the most celebrated directors working today. As I said in my Tick Tick Boom review there’s been a lot of musical films this year, West Side Story manages to be one of them that feels like you are at the show itself. From the acting, lighting and choreography it’s truly beautiful to see. As I said earlier the film feels massive which gives you a lot to explore during each music number or scene, West Side Story is truly one of the best films of the year and a huge accomplishment from Spielberg and a lot of the cast! Be sure to check this one out!
West Side Story is in theaters!