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West Side Story

Steven Spielberg provides a cinematically spectacular remake of the original. The story is the familiar one – Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (newcomer Rachel Zegler) meet at a school dance and fall in love, a taboo where racial boundaries are clearly defined and never crossed. I remember seeing the original, but thankfully that was so long ago that I didn’t have to compare this to the previous one; I could just enjoy what the show had to offer. It really is quite dazzling – the sets pop with color, and the camera catches the entire sweep of a scene with all of its motion. Ansel Elgort was solid as Tony; I had no idea he could sing, but he carries his own, and there is a sweetness to his voice that was perfect. The star and spark of the show for me come from Zegler – she is pure magic, and her voice is incredibly beautiful. The film was filled with wonderful actors and dancers, most of whom I had never seen. It feels contemporary and very relevant. Big thumbs up from me. (2021; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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