Best Side Story

Gretchen Lucina, Editor-in-Chief

When my sisters went to see West Side Story without me, they came back with mixed reviews. My older sister disliked the movie because she thought the whole plot was unrealistic; while my younger sister came home blaring the soundtrack because she loved it so much. I would have to side with my younger sister this time, I really enjoyed the movie. Critics seemed to like it as well, as it was recently just announced that West Side Story has won the 2022 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, as deserved.

“Maria” and “America” were my favorite songs by far. These songs are so catchy, and you will probably find yourself singing to them in the theater. To be fair, when I went to watch the movie, I already heard the songs multiple times prior because of my sister. The music brought me joy because they were upbeat songs and had many different background characters involved with the scene. Unlike my fellow journalist, Julia, I thought the dancing and the over dramatization fit the scene perfectly. Sometimes musicals have too many songs, but this movie had the perfect balance of songs to dialogue. 

The ‘sharks’ (Puerto Ricans) and the ‘jets’ (white New York residents) hate each other, physically fighting over anything they can. I would agree with Julia that the love between the main characters, Maria (Rachel Zegler), a Shark, and Tony (Ansel Elgort), a Jet, was a bit unrealistic, but the movie is a remake of the original where the same conflict happened. No one really questioned it then, so why should they now? The love between the crosstown lovers creates even more tension throughout the groups leading to a brawl. 

Maria was my favorite character from the movie. First of all, this was one of Zegler’s first major films as she is only 20 years old. I was very impressed by her vocal range and overall talent. I was not the only one who was impressed by her acting, as she won the 2022 Golden Globe for Best Performance by Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Drama.  

The ending of the movie did throw me for a loop, but for spoilers sake, I will have to have you watch the movie yourself if you haven’t already seen the original. I was very excited to see this movie, and I was not disappointed. The contrast between the Sharks and Jets made different colors pop out and the setting was ultimately made perfect for the movie. Contrast to Julia, I am not a grandma, and I still loved West Side Story.