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WEST SIDE STORY is a remake of the original Broadway play from 1957. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg and is a very updated take on the original play. First the movie is culturally accurate with Latino actors playing the Puerto Rican actors in the film. In the original movie version “Maria” was played by American actress Natalie Wood. In the version Maria is played by Latina actress Rachel Zegler, the product of a Columbian mother and an American father.

The story is about two rival gangs, The Jets and the Sharks, who hate the other’s presence in the neighborhood. The white kids feel like the Puerto Ricans are trying to take over the neighborhood and the Puerto Ricans just want to be left alone to enjoy their new neighborhood.

The choreography in the movie is absolutely amazing. The dance scenes along with the colorful outfits worn by the Puerto Ricans absolutely make the screen pop with color. Spielberg does an excellent job with the filming of the movie.

Also the old songs are reviewed with a very modern touch and I had forgotten how many classic songs come from the original stage play. Songs like, “I Feel Pretty,” “Somewhere,” “Tonight” and of course “Maria” are all reprised in the movie.

The actors give a spirited performance in all of the roles. Speilberg’s updated version of WESTSIDE STORY is a pure delight. The forbidden love story between Maria and Tony (Ansel Elgort) is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. I Loved it.

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The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and has a run time of 2 hours and 36 minutes. On my “Hollywood Popcorn Scale” WESTSIDE STORY rates a JUMBO.

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Hollywood Hernandez is a movie critic and radio personality and consultant.


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