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West Side Story (2021)

A city divided. Their love will change everything 

Year: 2021 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Steven Spielberg 
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose  
An image from West Side Story (2021)


If the name Maria and the phrase ‘I Feel Pretty’ mean nothing to you, it’s time to get yourself down to the cinema for one of the greatest musical masterpieces of all time, breathtakingly reproduced in the large screen it deserves. West Side Story reworks the story of Romeo and Juliet into 1960s New York, where two rival gangs race through the city in a fiery web of racial tension. When Tony (Elgort), an ex-Jet, falls in love with Maria (Zegler), the sister of the Shark’s leader Bernardo (Alvarez), the fighting escalades to a point of no return, with drastic consequences.

West Side Story remains the quintessential musical, with none of its glory fading even though more than 40 years have passed since its release. Its brilliant performances, perfectly choreographed dance routines and unbeatable soundtrack have rightly rendered it one of the most popular musicals of all time. Classic songs like ‘Tonight’, ‘America’, and ‘Officer Krupke’ are not to be missed, attesting to composer Leonard Bernstein’s genius. Amazingly, however, the film manages to retain its appeal even for those who aren’t fans of the musical genre; its sublime editing ensures that the film never feels like filmed theatre, and all the resources at cinema’s disposal are used to their fullest extent, as can be perceived most famously in the opening scene.

What’s fascinating about West Side Story is that it manages to give an age-old tale a fresh perspective, sprinkling addictive characters into the narrative that will undoubtedly charm you with their sharp wit and powerful voices. Additionally, the film’s undercurrents of racism and hatred are expressed in innovative and daring ways, so that vibrant dance routines often evolve into violent fights without losing their grace and rhythm. Essentially this is one revisiting of a timeless classic you don’t want to miss.

Ana Pereira-de-Souza

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Screenings of this film:

2021/2022 Spring Term (digital)
2021/2022 Spring Term (digital)