Review of “West Side Story” (1961)

West Side StoryG      Crime/Drama/Musical      MGM
Starring: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer …

A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the turf. The situation becomes complicated when a gang members falls in love with a rival’s sister and tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Musical Cinema Review by Audrey

Musicals are usually enjoyable. They over exaggerate situations and play on the stereotypes of life, adding humor and drama.  Obviously, this is not the case for every musical or play out there, but it is a good majority. The charm that musicals hold is irreplaceable and West Side Story captured this perfectly. Since it is based off of Romeo and Juliet, I was expecting the theatrics and over-the-top infatuations. I believe that the actors and actresses portrayed their characters and acted out these situations very well.. I can honestly see why this is such a high profile movie.

Throughout the movie, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing. Whether it be more witty comments or wanting the story to progress slightly faster, the movie was just not hitting the mark for me. Being such a famous musical, I was expecting it to be great and maybe a bit timeless. I was pretty surprised that it felt like just another musical that didn’t hold anything amazing and didn’t elevated it to another level. It was just another ‘good’ musical.  Now, I know that many others do not hold this opinion and do in fact put West Side Story on a pedestal. I believe that if I hadn’t gone into it expecting it to be on a level with other spectacular musicals, I would have enjoyed it a bit more.

As a lover of movies, one of the worst feelings is to feel distracted and check to see how much time is left. While watching West Side Story, I found myself doing this. When I check the time during a movie, I know that I am disengaged and just bored.  I had hoped not to be. Like I said, this is one of the worst feelings while watching a movie, and I hated that I felt this way while watching this movie musical.

Audrey’s Rating: 3/6

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