Sunday, March 6, 2022

(6/31) Ear Worms

 6 of 31 - SOLSC 2022

This was the first weekend since the new West Side Story has been on Disney+ and I mandated a family viewing. Spielberg's reimaging of this classic does not disappoint. The music sounds even better than ever, probably due to our improved sound system from what I grew up with. So, with refrains constantly drifting through my mind and my hips swaying as I dance through the day, I knew I wanted to reflect on my experience. When it comes down to it, I keep coming back to Anita.

Chita Rivera created an iconic role that seemed would never be rivaled. And then came Rita Moreno and that purple dress! And now Ariana DeBose stands equally beside them. The thing is, she literally stands beside Rita Moreno in the film as a role was created for Rita in this version. Instead of Doc it is Doc's widow, Valentina, that runs the store. Who plays Valentina? You guess it, Rita Moreno. To watch both of these women on screen is thrilling. To watch each embody a strong woman who is multilayered is astounding. And Ariana's dancing? Nothing rivals it!

More important than the film or the actors is the representation. The original film left big gaps and this film intentionally worked to fill those gaps. Instead of using makeup to have all of the Sharks be the same color there are dozens of Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican descent showing the wide range of skin tones: representation. Anybodys is portrayed by a non-binary actor, iris menas. The retelling allows for the trans story to be explicitly included rather than portraying them as a 'tomboy'. When "Tonight" is sung we are hearing the voices of the faces we are seeing. There were community discussions and historic experts brought in to ensure that what we see and hear is an accurate representation of the time and people. And coming back to Anita, (I told you this is what has been happening!) "A Boy Like That" is sun by Ariana rather than a ghost singer. 

I don't want to spoil anything - go to Disney+ as soon as you can. (And the 20/20 documentary is also there. Watch it after you see the film.) I'll be over here with my ear worms and wanna be dance moves.


  1. I loved your review and wish I had access to the movie- I hear so many good things about it.

    1. There are challenges to being overseas, for sure!

  2. Loved your review. Can't wait to watch this with my family.

  3. Interesting! Makes me want to watch! I even checked out the trailer!

  4. What is this amazing movie that I'm just hearing about now?! Sounds like a must watch.

  5. Watched the trailer. Waiting for the weekend now.😁