WEST SIDE STORY
Starring: Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Rita Moreno, Josh Andrés Rivera, Ana Isabelle, Corey Stoll, and Brian d’Arcy James
Director: Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg’s updated take on the classical musical West Side Story is a wonderful adaptation and one of the director’s most accomplished works. The changes he makes further enhance the story’s emotional depth to brilliant effect. It’s so thoroughly captivating that even the charisma-less performance of Ansel Elgort can’t manage to sink it, and it’s packed top to bottom with gorgeous visuals, stunning production design, and star-making turns from its cast. Ariana DeBose and Mike Faist are surefire Oscar nominees, and newcomer Rachel Zegler delivers a landmark debut performance. She’s going to be a superstar.
West Side Story is a how-to guide on how to update a classic. Director Steven Spielberg and writer Tony Kushner somehow find ways to improve on the original while also maintaining the magic of it. The film is one of the year's absolute best crafted works, especially Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography. The entire ensemble is top notch, but it’s Ariana DeBose and newcomer Rachel Zegler giving star-making performances. There is honestly not that much not to love about this movie, and I couldn’t help but smile and cry while watching this one.