West Side Story Reviews
The film's highlights are the music and songs that give resonance to Shakespeare's classic tale and the wonderfully arresting performance by Natalie Wood.
What I don't like about the film is the choreography. Set against the rough and tumble backdrop of New York City slums, these dancers are performing balletic and graceful moves the majesty of which belie the film's themes and social and economic realities. In and of themselves, the dances are fun and enticing, but there is a true disconnect between them and the story.
Here is a thought that is as yet only a germ in my brain: I find it odd that the white characters' complaints about their environment are social and economic -- big world issues -- whereas the Latinas embrace the social and economic realities of American life. They feel honored to be here despite the racial realities with which they are faced. It is as though the film, in a strain of racism, won't permit its minority characters any reasonable revolt. As I said, I think I need to develop this thought more, but I'm still convinced there's something fishy about this film vis a vis race relations.
Overall, it's fun and good, but it's certainly not perfect.
I didn't even realize until after watching it that is was based on a famous Shakespearian play. It was an amazing adaptation/revisualization and I can see why it was such a classic.
One of the very first things that stands out about this film is colorful setting and scenery. The cinematography is fantastic in this film and it really sets it apart from so many other musicals.
The music and choreography is perfect as well. Normally, dudes running around with weird whistling music would result in me turning off the tv, but here, it is so perfect and so appealing. Also, this film has so many memorable songs such as "Maria," America," "Tonight," and "Somewhere." I have not seen the musical as most people haven't either, but these songs were somewhat familiar. It shows how much of an influence this film has had on film and music. I knew the melodies, yet I had never seen any version of the musical. In many other famous musicals such as "An American in Paris," I didn't even remotely know any of the songs. The musical score was absolutely perfect and stunning. I loved it!
The cast members all give fantastic performances. Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, Geroge Chakiris...they all give powerful and convincing performances. This film easily could have fallen into cheese heaven, but it was brilliantly executed by the actors. The emotion was so intense! I love emotion and conflict, so this film delivers.
I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but this modern adaptation is perfect. I absolutely love the story! The best adaptation I have ever seen.
West Side Story is a perfect, classic film. Winner of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, it is truly a magnificent film. From the music, dancing, acting, cinematography, emotion, conflict, love, hate....it truly has it all! I absolutely love this film!
Personally, I think it's good, but not one of my favorites. Some of the songs and performances are great, while others did nothing for me. There's no denying that the sets and choreography were all top-notch, and the tragic story is timeless, but there are better musicals, in my opinion.
Whilst this is a film made in 1961, the setup is still so relevant to gang rivalry in today's time, granted the style of storytelling in the forum of a musical with very dramatic song and dance, may not quite be the way this tale is shown, but all the same the meaning remains familiar.
Some very memorable songs throughout and of course like it's influence, a tragic love story.