'West Side Story' Review: Is This Movie Musical Worth Watching?

The second film adaptation of "West Side Story" is hitting theaters this weekend, but is Steven Spielberg's first ever musical worth the watch?

Jesse Conner

By Jesse Conner

West Side Story Review: Is This Movie Musical Worth Watching?

© 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

As we near the end of 2021, we're finally reaching some of the most anticipated movies of the year. The new film release we've landed on this weekend is one for musical lovers and theater enthusiasts. It's the newest film adaptation of "West Side Story" based on the celebrated stage musical from 1957. Though this musical was already adapted to film in 1961, we're seeing a reimagined version now with the help of renowned director Steven Spielberg. With a new cast of young hopefuls trying to make their mark in Hollywood, one can only imagine the energy they'll bring to this classic fable of romance and tragedy. Before you go see the song-and-dance in "West Side Story," check out our review.

Reasons to Watch...

© 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

© 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

  • There are such powerful and emotional performances from every member of the cast, with Rachel Zegler as the star that shines brightest. The intensity of the singing and complexity of the dance numbers will leave you speechless at times. Everyone is in perfect harmony.
  • The spectacular cinematography takes you on a journey exploring New York in the 1950s. There are no missed opportunities finding striking camera angles and beautiful set designs.
  • The modified version of the original theater musical and first film adaptation stands on its own as a respected addition to the legacy.
  • It's the type of musical where the performances add gravity to the lessons learned here in a meaningful and captivating way.

Or Not...

© 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

© 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

  • With certain scenes where there are dire circumstances, you would expect more rational emotions and responses.
  • Though there are many important musical numbers, it still feels like the film could have been shortened down from its two and a half hour running time.

Watch or Not?

With "West Side Story," our suggestion is to go watch it tonight!

We're thoroughly impressed with this film. This is Spielberg's first run at directing a movie musical but technically it's a film that was made before. Some might suggest that this adaptation is better than the original, which is a rarity. And we expect lead actress Rachel Zegler to have a bright future ahead after seeing her performance here.

Watch it now in theaters

West Side Story Poster

West Side Story



December 10, 2021

Jesse Conner

Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.

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