‘In the Heights’ is glorious eye and ear candy — with something missing – KAKE

‘In the Heights’ is glorious eye and ear candy — with something missing – KAKE

The underlying mantra that most permeates the film version of “In the Heights” is not about politics or social protest at all, but about the sueñitos, or little dreams, that various characters have — Vanessa’s desire to be a fashion designer, car-service owner Rosario’s dream that his daughter Nina graduate from Stanford, Usnavi’s dream of moving back to the Dominican Republic. These dreams resonate more with the Horatio Alger story Miranda grafted onto Alexander Hamilton; they clash when layered onto the original “In The Heights,” with its critique of out of control real estate developers who create a lack of affordable housing. Instead of overt social protest, “In the Heights” settles for the quiet dignity of a line delivered by Olga Merediz’s Abuela Claudia, about how she survived emigrating from Cuba to New York in 1943: “We had to assert our dignity in small ways, little details that tell the world we are not invisible.”