Washington Heights (2002)

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Movie Info

Carlos (Manny Perez) is a talented artist who draws comics for a living. He's desperate to move out of his Washington Heights neighborhood. His girlfriend, Maggie (Andrea Navedo) feels more connected to the neighborhood. She's not so eager to leave. Carlos's best friend, Mickey (Danny Hoch), works as a super in the building his father owns, but he dreams of being a professional bowler. He's scheming to raise three grand to enter an open tournament in Las Vegas. Carlos's father, Eddie (accomplished Cuban-born actor Tomas Milian, who starred in Michelangelo Antonioni's Indentificazione di una donna), owns a neighborhood grocery store, and is well-liked in the neighborhood for his friendly way of doing business. Despite his advanced age, he's also a ladies' man, and was so even before Carlos's mother passed away. His philandering ways account for a lot of the tension between father and son. Carlos wants to draw his own comic book, but his boss, David (David Zayas) tells him that while he's got technical ability, his work is soulless. But Carlos's plans for the future are disrupted when Eddie is shot and critically wounded during a robbery at the store. Carlos resentfully takes care of his ailing father, and runs the store until Eddie can go back to work. Carlos's growing understanding of his community, and his father's importance to it, is reflected in his work, and he has a creative breakthrough. Meanwhile, Mickey's moneymaking schemes get him into trouble with Angel (Bobby Cannavale), Maggie's gangster brother. Washington Heights was directed by Alfredo De Villa, who wrote the script with Nat Moss. Novelist Junot Diaz (Drown) wrote additional dialogue. The film was shown at the 2002 Urbanworld Film Festival, and at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival, where it received a Special Mention.

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Critic Reviews for Washington Heights

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (18)

Considering the money this film cost to make, its short shooting schedule, and its unpandering ethnic content, it's a triumph.

Jun 7, 2014 | Full Review…

A promising debut that makes us anticipate this Columbia University film grad's sophomore work.

Jul 31, 2003 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Buoyed by strong performances from Perez and Miami-resident Milian, Washington Heights overcomes the familiarity of its premise through its passion and conviction.

Jul 31, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4

Washington Heights is sloppy and often undernourished, but it convincingly creates a neighborhood throbbing with activity and caring.

Jul 23, 2003 | Rating: B-

Deserves a wide audience hungry for sympathetic, three-dimensional people caught up in something bigger than themselves.

Jul 21, 2003 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Washington Heights may not always be great, but director Alfredo de Villa lights an undeniable fire in the movie's belly.

Jul 19, 2003 | Rating: B

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