A CITY DIVIDED. THEIR LOVE WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.
On Manhattan’s West Side, two teenagers (Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler) who belong to opposite ethnic gangs fall in love. This take on the classic Broadway musical is closer to the original than the gorgeous 1961 screen adaptation, but it doesn’t really add or subtract anything; the differences are subtle. The themes of the story, depicting racial strife in a sweaty urban milieu, are timeless and the music still packs a punch; the beauty of the numbers are boosted by Janusz Kaminski’s shimmery lensing. Very good cast, including Zegler (a real find in her first film), Mike Faist as the cocky leader of the Jets, and Rita Moreno in a specially written part as a Puerto Rican store owner.
2021-U.S. 156 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Kristie Macosko Krieger, Kevin McCollum, Steven Spielberg. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay: Tony Kushner. Book: Arthur Laurents. Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski. Music: Leonard Bernstein. Songs: Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim (”Maria”, ”Jet Song”, ”America”, ”Tonight”, ”I Feel Pretty”, ”Somewhere”). Cast: Ansel Elgort (Tony), Rachel Zegler (Maria), Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Rita Moreno… Corey Stoll.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film.
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (DeBose). BAFTA: Best Supporting Actress (DeBose), Casting.
Last word: “It has never left my life. I’ve played the cast album to my kids. They memorised the songs growing up. I’ve got videos where I’m running around the place playing Officer Krupke and all the Jets. Those videos prove how ‘West Side Story’ has permeated my entire life and the lives of my kids and grandkids. It’s crazy!” (Spielberg, The Guardian)